Since I cut most dairy out of my diet, there are certain things I’ve missed, and ravioli is invariably one of them. Most restaurant raviolis are stuffed with mascarpone or ricotta cheese, and even butternut squash ravioli usually have cheese in the stuffing. But lately, I began to wonder why cheese should get to be the only thing stuffed inside a delicious pasta pocket. So tonight, I did a little experiment to see if I could make a good ravioli with acorn squash, inspired by this week’s Food Matters Project recipe. My gnocchi success last week had me feeling brazen, so rather than using wonton wrappers like many recipes recommended, I decided to make my own pasta dough.
And the result? While not incredibly pretty, I think they came out well for handmade, sans pasta machine. Even D, who loves his cheese, said they were great and very filling.
Acorn Squash Ravioli
1 acorn squash
ground nutmeg, to taste
1/4 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 red pepper, sliced
3 small leaves kale, chopped
juice of 1/4 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds and strings and put both halves face-down in an oven-safe dish with an inch or so of water underneath to keep it from burning. Roast until very soft when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
2. Let the squash cool until you can handle it and scoop out the flesh inside. Mash it well with a fork, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste (go easy on the nutmeg and taste as you add it, as it can be strong). Fledgling tip: This step can be done in advance; I did it the night before to make things faster.
3. Mix together the flours in one bowl with a sprinkle of salt and the eggs and water in another. Slowly add the flours to the liquid bowl, stirring to combine. Add more water or flour as needed until it forms a thick dough. Knead it several times then let it rest for 20 minutes or so in the fridge.
4. Break the dough into thirds and roll one of them out on a flour-dusted work surface until it’s no more than 1/8 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into large squares, about an inch and half to two inches wide and tall. Put a teaspoonful or two of the squash mixture in the middle of the dough, then lay another square on top. Pinch the edges of the ravioli together using a fork, then wipe off excess squash that may have squeezed out. Lay the ravioli aside, then continue until you work your way through that section of dough and roll out the next. Once you start to get the hang of it, salt a medium to large pot of water and bring it to a boil as you work through the rest. Note: I didn’t end up using all the squash, so I put the rest away to use later this week.
5. Once the water is boiling, put the raviolis in the water in batches — don’t crowd them, but how many you can fit will depend on the size of your pot (I could fit about 6 or 7 in each batch). Give the water a quick stir after putting them in so they don’t stick to the bottom. A minute after each ravioli floats to the top, it’s done.
6. Put the butter and sage in a saucepan and let it melt over low heat. Put the peppers and kale in there and let them sauté. Add the lemon juice and some salt and pepper. As the ravioli finish in the pot, transfer them to the pan with the butter and give it an occasional stir. Add a bit of water from the ravioli pot if the mixture starts to stick, and stir occasionally.
7. Once all the ravioli are done, stir them in the pan to coat them equally with the sauce. Serve immediately.
See more recipes inspired by this week’s Food Matters Project here, and see the original butternut squash chowder recipe at Prairie Summers. And in case you’re wondering, here’s my go-to butternut squash soup recipe.
The Food Matters Project: Whole Wheat Carrot Gnocchi
The Food Matters Project: Baked Sweet Potato and Corn Cakes with Thai Dipping Sauce
The Food Matters Project: Quinoa with Braised Beef, Parsnips and Carrots
Butternut squash soup