Category Archives: pasta

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce

I love Sundays. The waking-up-lazily-at-11, the excuse to skip straight to lunch, the afternoon nap and, of course, the intensive Sunday dinner. The last few weeks, it seems as though I cannot be happy unless I’m sweating over a hot stove, etc.

Also, my dear friend Katie was coming over to write an article about me for her food writing class, so I had to simultaneously feed and impress her very selective vegetarian palate.

Homemade ravioli fit the bill as sufficiently labor intensive and, ultimately, delicious.

I’ve adapted this recipe to include ricotta cheese in the filling. It’s just not ravioli without ricotta cheese, in my opinion. Actually, it’s just not a meal without cheese, period.

Butternut Squash Ravioli:
Filling
1 medium or 2 small butternut squashes, cut in half lengthwise
olive oil
dash of nutmeg
several dashes of cinnamon
pinch of brown sugar
salt & pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Pasta Dough
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Butter Sage Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves, thinly sliced

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a pan with a lip and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes, flip, then cook for another 20 minutes, or until tender.
2) Meanwhile, mix all pasta dough ingredients in a bowl. Knead for several minutes on a well-floured surface, adding more water as needed. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough ball with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes.
3) Once butternut squash is tender, scoop out the flesh and stir in nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature (or place in the refrigerator), then add ricotta.
4) Once pasta dough has rested, cut ball in half. Cover one half with plastic and roll out the other half with a rolling pin or in a pasta machine. If you don’t have a pasta machine, I hope you have some amount of patience as you’ll be rolling out dough for awhile. I don’t have a pasta machine, so I just kept rolling out the dough until it was “thin enough.”
5) Cut flattened pasta dough into 2 by 2-inch squares. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the square, then fold pasta over to form a triangle. Seal the dough around the edges with your fingers. Have a bowl of water nearby to moisten your fingers as the dough dries out. Set uncooked ravioli aside. Repeat process with other dough ball.
6) Boil a pot of water while preparing the butter sage sauce. To make the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add sage. Add ravioli to pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
7) Drain ravioli and add to the skillet. Coat the ravioli with butter, place on a plate, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Gnocchi with Mushrooms

I can’t decide whether those pictures are appetizing or disturbing, but having already consumed this meal, I can honestly say that cooking this meal will have you salivating before you can say “gnocchi”–backward.

I bought truffle oil the other week in a moment of utter pretension combined with too much money in my bank account. You know, typical white middle-class problems. So, I jumped at the opportunity to drizzle truffle oil on something other than bread.

Side note: truffle oil is made from mushrooms, called truffles, and combined with olive oil; it is not made by slow pressing chocolate truffles until their luscious cocoa flavor gives way. Although that would also be delicious. (I just thought I’d clarify.)

I think the most obvious conclusion here is that the word truffle can only have a positive connotation. I’m thinking about naming my first born Truffle, actually. And she’ll be a really fantastic dancer known for her trademarked Truffle Shuffle. Just thinking out loud, here.

Anyway, this recipe is based on the one found here at Food & Wine online. I wasn’t about to buy vermouth after already investing in truffle oil, so I substituted three-buck Chuck. And I already had an onion, so I replaced the shallots, too. I’m still a student, after all. A student with truffle oil and thousands of dollars in student loans.

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms:
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
2 TB butter
5 C. mushrooms
1 red onion
1/4 C. white wine
3/4 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound gnocchi
6 TB freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)

1) Heat the olive oil with the butter in a pan. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.
2) Add the white wine and cook until evaporated. Add the stock, cream and thyme, season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Drain well.
4) Add the gnocchi to the mushrooms and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in some of the Parmesan. Place gnocchi mixture in a pan and top with remaining Parmesan.
5) Broil the gnocchi 6 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve.