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Year of the Noodle: Week 10

Apparently when I was a kid I wanted to be the person who manned the pasta machine at the Olive Garden.  Remember how they used to make fresh pasta just behind the lobby area so you could watch them?  When I eventually worked at an Olive Garden in college, they no longer did that.  And I learned pretty quickly how gross Olive Garden food is (sorry fans of the OG, when you work somewhere you see icky things.)  Now that I am an adult(ish), with my very own pasta machine, that childhood pasta making dream finally came true.  I made my first ravioli from scratch last Friday night.  It took a significant amount of time, and didn’t look too pretty by the end, but it turned out delicious.  Hopefully I’ll have the process down better next time so that it doesn’t keep me in the kitchen quite so long:)

This recipe is a classic flavor combo that I’ve had at many restaurants in the past.  I think I pulled it off nearly as well as any I’ve ordered (aesthetics aside.)  Yummy.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

Pasta Dough
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cornmeal, for dusting
Directions
  1. To make the pasta dough: In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook*, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Drizzle in 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
  2. Alternatively if you don’t have an electric mixer: Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface; shape into a mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall of the well in a circular motion. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Continue as directed above.
  3. Cut the ball of dough in 1/2, cover and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening until the machine is at the narrowest setting; the dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick (you should be able to see your hand through it.). Dust the sheets of dough with flour as needed.
  4. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Dust the counter and sheet of dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta, and brush the top surface with the egg wash, which acts as a glue. Drop tablespoons of your favorite filling on 1/2 of the pasta sheet, about 2-inches apart. Fold the other 1/2 over the filling like a blanket. With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling. Use a sharp knife to cut each pillow into squares and crimp the 4 edges with the tins of a fork to make a tight seal. Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with cornmeal to prevent the pasta from sticking and lay them out to dry slightly while assembling the rest.
  5. Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon. Bath the ravioli in your favorite sauce to lightly coat and serve.
For filling and sauce
Ingredients
  • half a butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for
    brushing
  • 60g parmesan, grated, plus extra to
    serve
  • salt and black pepper
  • 300g fresh pasta dough
  • 75g butter
  • small handful sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Remove the seeds from the butternut squash. Brush all over with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until very soft. Remove the skin and cut up the flesh. Place in a bowl along with the 60g of parmesan and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix well, using the back of a fork to squash the butternut squah into a thick puree. Season to taste and set aside to cool.
  2. Roll the pasta out until it is very thin, (number 1 setting on a pasta machine). Cut the pasta length in half. Place a teaspoon of the filling at even intervals on one half of the pasta. Brush a little water around the filling and then drape the other pasta sheet over. Press gently around the filling to seal the pasta together and cut into squares.
  3. Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes.
  4. For the sage butter, melt the butter and then add the sage leaves. Mix well and and cook for 1 minute.
  5. To serve, place the ravioli into warm bowls and drizzle over the sage butter sauce and grate over some parmesan.

Sources: Jamie Oliver and Food Network

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