Lately I’ve been really into the Netflix show, SALT FAT ACID HEAT. It’s taught me so much about basic tenets of food, but most importantly, I’ve learned a few secrets of making pasta at home. Since college, I’ve been attempting to perfect my Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe, with only semi-success.
Watching Samin Nosrat make pasta by hand was so inspiring, because I realized my own techniques were actually so close to what she was doing. A few tweaks and I saw better results. I’ll just get this out of the way now: homemade pasta is not as scary as you think it is. Time consuming? Absolutely. Difficult? No.
I’ve now ruined enough homemade pasta to show you how to do it right.
If this is your first time attempting homemade pasta, congratulations! You’re so brave! If you’re an old pro, you probably don’t need this, but I promise my butternut squash filling is divine. If you’re a homemade pasta failure like I was, don’t give up! This is the recipe you needed all along.
The thing to remember about pasta, is that it isn’t meant to be drowned in sauce. Good pasta has flavor and texture, it IS the meal, not just the carbs you put your sauce on. Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant, I ask what their homemade pasta dishes are, and order that. Sometimes I even call ahead to ask if they make pasta in-house, because I can make boxed noodles at home. No shame in the boxed noodle game, but it’s not a good representation of what a pasta dish really is.
These Butternut Squash Ravioli will change your pasta game forever.
While you can fill your ravioli with anything you want, butternut squash is the perfect fall ingredient. It’s inexpensive, flavorful, and so nutritious. In this recipe, I pair it with goat cheese and nutmeg for a sweet and savory experience. The sauce is simple, allowing the pasta and filling to really shine.
Homemade pasta is a labor of love, so make sure you have about six hours to complete this dish. It’s not going to be fast, but it will be worth it!
Cut a medium size butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds [like a pumpkin]. Place skin side down in a pan, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 350 F for 45-60 minutes. Cool completely. You will know when it’s ready to be scooped out, because the squash will pull away from the skin easily.
While you’re roasting & cooling the squash, begin your pasta. On a large, clean surface, make a mountain of your flour. [keep your flour out and available, you cannot have too much!] Create an indentation in your flour, like a volcano, and crack in 5 whole eggs and 3 yolks. Using a whisk, slowly blend the flour and eggs from the center and outward.
After a few minutes you’ll have to ditch the whisk and start using your hands. Knead the flour and eggs together until it’s blended and chunky. Add water, 1/4 Cup at a time. Mix thoroughly before adding more water, each time. If you find you’ve added too much water, add some flour until you get a thick doughy texture back.
Knead the dough until it becomes a large, smooth ball. Roll it out to a 1-inch thick circle, and cut into four pieces. This makes it easier to work with. Flour your work surface and your rolling-pin. Roll each piece of pasta, starting in the center and working out in each direction. Flip the dough over every 5-6 rolls. This part takes a lot of time and muscle, don’t get discouraged! Pasta should be as thin as you can possibly make it.
I highly recommend you use a pasta roller. Unless you are an Italian Nonna, skilled in the ways of ancient Italian pasta making, the likelihood of you getting your pasta restaurant-thin is low. Not that it won’t be delicious, but it will be thicker than you are used to.
To make the filling, scoop out the squash and put it into a mixing bowl. With a medium butternut squash, you should have roughly 3 Cups. Add in goat cheese, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk together until well-blended. Be sure to taste the filling to ensure you’ve spiced it thoroughly. It should be saltier than you think, because the pasta soaks up a lot of the sodium in the boiling process.
When you have the pasta dough rolled out, and the filling prepped, you’re ready to put together your ravioli. Choose a large cookie cutter, roughly 3-inches in diameter. The larger the noodle, the easier it will be for you to fill and cook the ravioli successfully. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, a drinking glass will do.
Brush each pasta round with beaten egg, top with 1-2 TBS filling in the center, and top with another pasta round. Slowly pinch around the edges, ensuring there aren’t any air bubbles or openings. This is the most important part. If water gets into your pasta, it’s ruined. Don’t be afraid to really man handle your pasta here, to get the seal tight.
Boil a large pot of water with about 1/4 Cup of salt. Drop ravioli in, and let them cook for five minutes. Gently stir them if you notice them sticking. Strain the ravioli, just like spaghetti. If you aren’t ready to cook them right away, sprinkle them with flour and put in an airtight container in the fridge.
Butter. Sage. Garlic. Ohhh myyyy.
Now for my favorite part: browned sage butter.
This will be the easiest, most delicious sauce you have ever made. However, follow the instructions carefully, because it’s a science.
In a medium sauce pan, melt 1/2 Cup of butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add 2 tsp minced garlic, and bring to a low simmer for roughly 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully, if the butter or garlic gets burnt you’ll have to toss it! When the garlic has turned golden brown, add 1/4 Cup fresh, chopped sage and bring to a medium simmer, stirring frequently.
Watch carefully for about 10 minutes, you’ll start to see the butter turning brown. Stirring is important because you want to be rotating the bottom butter–that’s browning–with the fresh butter on top. I like to wait until it’s dark brown, I think it adds the most flavor. The sage will get crispy in the simmering butter, stir gently to avoid breaking it up too much. It’s a texture you want in your dish.
To serve, simply drizzle the sage butter over the ravioli, salt and pepper to taste.
So there you have it, my favorite fall recipe, tested and re-tested for perfection. As always, if you make this recipe, please let me know how it goes! If you have questions about anything, don’t hesitate to comment, contact me here, or on Instagram. I love to hear from you, I’m so happy to help you create the pasta dish of your dreams.
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