Butternut squash ravioli might not be the healthiest of autumn/winter meals, but you don’t need many and they’re so much fun to make! The great thing about using a butternut squash is that you can use ALL of it.
Up until now I have only used the flesh and the seeds thinking I was doing pretty well. Yesterday my sister showed me how we could turn the peeled skin into butternut crisps! After peeling the butternut and scooping out the seeds the flesh is all ready to steam. But before you do that you can make yourself a pasta making snack (its tough work, sustenance is necessary). Wash the seeds under the tap and lay them out on a baking tray. Spread the peeled skin out next to them and spray the whole lot with some olive oil, then sprinkle a pinch of salt, pepper and smoked paprika over the top. Bake these in a pre-heated oven (180 c/350 f) for about 10 minutes or until brown and crispy.
For the Filling:
1 large butternut squash
half a red chilli finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
For the Pasta:
500g 00 flour
For the caramelised onions:
2 white onions
drizzle of oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a few fresh sage leaves
For the Filling:
- Start by preparing the squash. Peel and chop the squash, (reserving the seeds and peel for snacks!). Chop the squash into 1 inch cubes and spread on a roasting tray with the shallots (peeled but not chopped) and garlic cloves (no need to peel or chop) and the chilli. Drizzle or spray with a little olive oil and roast in a pre-heated oven at 180c (350f) for about 30 minutes or until tender.
- (Once the squash has started to cook you can toast up your seeds and squash skins with a little olive oil, salt pepper and smoked paprika in the oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.)
- Let the roasted squash cool before blending into a puree along with the parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning to taste.
For the Pasta:
- While the squash is roasting you can begin to make your pasta dough. Weigh out the flour and sieve it into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre with your fingers and crack the 5 eggs into the well.
- Using a fork or whisk, slowly begin to combine the flour into the eggs. (You can also do this stage in a food processor, but you won’t feel very Italian). Eventually the mixture will become really thick and tough to whisk, start kneading with your hands at this point.
- Once the dough has formed a consistent ball (it shouldn’t stick to your hands, but should stick together) continue kneading on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Push and stretch the dough until it is smooth.(This is a good work-out – also the reason you’ll be needing them snacks!) If the mixture is too dry add a bit of water or too wet – add a bit more flour.
- If you are using a pasta machine: divide the dough into quarters and begin rolling the first section through on the thickest setting. Continue rolling it through each setting from 0-6. (I found anything thinner than a 6 to be a bit fragile for my ravioli cutters.)
- If you are rolling by hand: first refrigerate the dough in cling-film for about half an hour before rolling out to about 1mm thickness with a rolling pin.
- Lay a stretch of rolled out dough across the ravioli sheet (you can also use cookie cutters or jars to cut out rounds) and spoon a teaspoon of the butternut squash filling into each round. Brush the dough around the filling with a little water so the next layer will stick to it, then add the second layer of dough over the first, smoothing it over the filling to avoid air bubbles.
- If you have a ravioli cutter then you can use a rolling pin to press down the top layer and cut out the shapes, otherwise use the same cookie cutter or jar to go over the rounds you filled and press down the edges with a fork.
- Dust a tray or plate with a little flour and set the ravioli aside until needed. Complete this process with the remaining dough and filling.
For the Caramelised Onions:
- Finely slice the onions and fry in a pan on a low to medium heat with the oil, vinegar, thyme and sage for about 15-20 minutes or until really soft.
- Drop the ravioli into boiling water with a good pinch of salt and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until they pop up on the surface. (The timing of this will depend a little on how thick you rolled your dough and how big your ravioli are.)
- Remove the cooked ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon onto a plate. Top with caramelised onions a grating of parmesan and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
We also fried a couple up so they were crispy to try it out as a starter – delicious! If you are left with more pasta dough than filling, turn the last of it into linguine or lasagna sheets to dry out and use another day, or freeze.