I have mentioned that I love to cook with friends, and ravioli is THE perfect two person project where two heads (or four hands, if you will) are definitely better than one! My friend and I made butternut squash raviol iin November of 2011 they lasted until the following July. For our second annual ravioli-making get together, we repeated butternut squash because it was just to die for. We also tried a new recipe – dairy-free chicken/caramelized onion raviolis; we concurred that the onions overpowered the chicken http://thebutchersapron.co.uk/wp-config.php_original .
For our third annual pasta-making party this past summer, we made the perfect trifecta: butternut squash, chicken/corn and mushroom ricotta. Bingo! Each was perfect and after splitting the work and the goods, we each now have over 180 raviolis in our respective freezers.
There were two parts to our extravaganza. Friday morning after our exercise class we drove to the Pike Street Market and picked up 60 sheets of pre-ordered, fresh egg pasta. Calling ahead was necessary with an amount like this. I braised chicken thighs and cooked the squash, and my friend Eileen sauteed the mushrooms and fresh sweet corn.
Saturday we started at 9 am to avoid the heat, and not only did we produce dozens of ravioli, we each had four large bags of pasta scraps left over that we cut into pappardelle or useful noodle size pieces. Oh, and we even managed to fit in a half hour lunch break (ravioli of course) in between. Start to finish, we dried the last dish four hours later. The next day we each had to bag our flash frozen ravioli and label what was inside. My freezer now has ravioli that should (fingers crossed) last throughout the year – and if we run out before next summer we’ll do it again. Believe me, these are YUMMY and a wonderful girlfriend project!!
Preparing the Pasta:
To make the ravioli for all three kinds of filling, I bought 60 sheets of fresh pasta which is a few more than necessary. The 60 sheets of what I buy at deLaurenti (5” x 12” sheets) make at least 360 ravioli and at least 8-10 bags of noodle scraps. Or if you live in Seattle, you can even order pasta sheets through Amazon Fresh and have them delivered to your doorstep!
I cut off 2 ½ inches from the short ends of the ravioli sheets so each sheet fits into the mold (save the part you cut off to use at the end for additional raviolis). By cutting off a bit we ended up with a 5 x 10 sheet which fits my ravioli making tray.
Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli
(Fills 11 dozen)
- Two large or 3 smaller butternut squash
- 1 ⅓ c fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
- ⅔ cup grated good quality imported parmesan /reggiano cheese, grated
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp fine grained sea salt or more to taste
- 1 stick melted salted butter
- 1 -3 tsp granulated sugar
Pierce each squash while whole about in about 8 places with a knife, and microwave 4 ½ min, turning once. Cut off the stem end and bottom and slice the squash lengthwise, remove seeds and place flesh side up in deep pan in a 400 degree oven for one hour or until the flesh yields easily with a fork. I did brush the tops with a tiny bit of olive oil prior to baking. Cool a bit and scoop the flesh into a strainer and drain it at least an hour. Discard the extra liquid and mash the cooked, drained flesh. Cover and refrigerate.
Once the squash has chilled, place it in a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, taste filling and add more salt, or cheese to taste. I do this all by hand.
To make the raviolis, put one sheet of trimmed pasta on the ravioli maker bottom and follow directions for your ravioli maker. Press the top to make indentations and fill with about 1 ½-2 tsp filling per ravioli on each tray. Brush between the raviolis with a diluted egg wash (1 beaten egg + 2 tsp of water-make more egg wash as needed). Lay a second pasta sheet on top after the egg wash in brushed and roll with a rolling pin well so it cuts apart. Remove raviolis and place on a large parchment lined tray so they are not touching each other. We fit about 40-45/tray. Freeze each tray overnight and then bag them (10-12 per bag) so they don’t stick together.
When ready to serve, boil them while still frozen for 3-5 minutes. Cook as many as you want – figuring 5-6 per person for a first course, or 10-12 for a main. Drain well and coat with a sauce of your choice.
For this ravioli version, we browned some butter and tossed the raviolis with the butter along with some toasted hazelnuts, a squirt of fresh lemon and some fried sage. A chiffonade of basil would be a lovely alternative to the sage.
Up next week – recipes for the Chicken & Corn and Mushroom & Ricotta raviolis! Abbondanza!