Friday, November 10, 2006

Holy Ravioli!

A while back I read an article about roasting butternut squash. One of the suggestions for the finished product was making ravioli filling. It sounded just heavenly, and has been in the back of my mind ever since. The back of my mind, rather than on the table, because it seemed like an awful lot of work. My mother-in-law suggested using wonton wrappers to make the ravioli, but after fruitless searching for the aforementioned shortcut, I decided to go ahead and make my own pasta. I don't have a pasta press, so as was suggested by a beloved Virtual Veggie, it was quite an upper body workout.

The first step was to make a mound of 2 cups of flour, make a well in the mound, and break in 3 eggs. I was going to take a picture of this volcano-looking step, but my eggs quickly mucked onto the counter and didn't look so pretty. Next time, I will defy the experts and do this step in a bowl. Whisk the eggs, then gradually work in the flour. Once you've incorporated the flour into the eggs, knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. My dough was still very dry, so I added a tablespoon-ish of olive oil. I divided the dough into 2 balls and let them rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Next, I rolled out the dough. The instructions (all which used a pasta machine) said to get the pasta thin enough that you could see your hand through it. Well, I could, if I held it up to the light. I rolled out each ball in 2 separate sections. On one section, I brushed an egg/water mixture. I then spooned about 1 tablespoon of filling (roasted butternut squash with a bit of finely mined onions) onto this section, about bit about 2 inches apart. Next, I laid the second layer over the filling, and carefully pressed the two layers together in-between the mounds of filling. I used a ravioli cutter to cut the squares apart, but a pizza cutter would work as well. To be sure the ravioli was sealed, I simply used the tines of a fork to press the edges together.

Voila! The entire process took about an hour to an hour and a half. It was quite time consuming and tough on that upper body! I kept the finished ravioli covered with a damp paper towel until I was ready to cook them. To cook, I simply dropped the ravioli into boiling water for about 6-7 minutes. To highlight the ravioli, I served it with only a touch of butter and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan. (Sides were pan roasted beets and steamed broccoli, both still in-season, making for a very local meal.) It was really quite good. The pasta was thicker than it should have been, and thus a bit rubbery. I wouldn't do this again without a pasta press. Also, though I tried to keep the filling kid-friendly, the kids were skeptical, so next time I'd spice it up with some garlic and what else but garam masala. I hope to try both in the future--the one where I own a pasta press!


blueshakti said...

they're so pretty!
and you're so resourceful.

beets and brocc. yum.
now I'm hungry. must be lunchytime!

Maddy Avena said...

Oh, but they *look* so good! Have you tried the butternut squash gnocchi from the Mediterranean Vegan kitchen? They were just great. I did half:half buttnut squash and potato. I'll send you the recipe if you're interested....I keep looking for "new things to do with butternut squash" as I have about 25 butternut, acorn and delicata squashes in the garage; mostly butternuts.
I've never made my own pasta...I have a sense that I wouldn't be too good at it as I'm too much of a no-no cook :-)

Maddy Avena said...

hahaha! Buttnut! I must be tired...

Mia said...

Maddy! LOL I *did* try the gnocchi. While it was delicious, I also found it very work intensive, and I couldn't keep up my cooking with the demand. The kids loved it thought. If I could find a way to cook it more quickly or in larger batches--or ahead of time, I'd definitely try it again.