Butternut Squash and Ricotta Ravioli

I miss my pasta maker. It’s not something I used too often, but it’s comforting to have it in the back of the cupboard. Every so often I’d dust it off and make some fresh pasta. I should have been using it constantly.

Fresh pasta isn’t very challenging, you knead some dough, you let it rest, you roll it out and cut it. The pasta machine makes all that just go much faster, and there’s less agony over evenly rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. I don’t even care about long pasta, because really it’s just a vehicle for whatever sauce I’m putting on it. But seriously, I just need to have more homemade ravioli in my life.

I decided to make butternut squash ravioli without the machine. Simple enough, it just takes time. I had some baked squash that I pureed with a little bit of melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper, and a tub of homemade ricotta cheese.

I rolled out the dough as thin and evenly as I could, and then used a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. A dab of puree and cheese, and then sealed by running a wet finger around the edge of the skin and pressing, much like dumplings, only no crinkling. Half, I froze, laying them in a single layer on a plate, then putting in a bag once hardened so they don’t stick together. The rest I gave a quick boil–lifting out of the water with a slotted spoon as soon as they started to rise, and then tossing in a bit of butter and olive oil with sauteed garlic shrimp.

These little hearts are filled to bursting with homemade ricotta and pureed squash

These little hearts are filled to bursting with homemade ricotta and pureed squash

Ravioli tossed in garlic butter and a bit of white wine with shrimp.

Ravioli tossed in garlic butter and a bit of white wine with shrimp.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter, which lead to super cute finished product (you could use beet juice in the pasta to make red hearts and it’d be a cute Valentine’s or other special dinner) and it’s kind of impressive to serve homemade ravioli (kind of wish I had a frilly edged cutter to make it more professional looking). The ricotta gets warm and melty, and this would pair well with a  white-wine sauce or bechamel, or lightly tossed in brown butter with sage, or with sauteed vegetables.

Pasta Dough: 3 1/2 cups of flour, or some mix of all-purpose and semolina, and a 1/4 tsp of salt.  5 eggs. mix the flour into the eggs until the dough forms. You can color the pasta by adding vegetable-boiled water from beets or spinach, and flavor the pasta with herbs or veg as well. You want a smooth, not too sticky dough, ad flour if sticky, some dabs of water if it’s too dry. Freeze whatever you don’t use for later use. Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes after kneading, then roll it out and cut shapes or noodles.

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