10.10.10: birthday dinner (butternut squash ravioli)

Butternut Squash Ravioli

One of my biggest pet peeves in searching for recipes on the website of a certain cable food network is if I’m feeling particularly ambitious and want to make, say, wild mushroom ravioli, I’ll click on the first result because it’s from a chef I might particularly like and/or trust…and then I read the ingredient list.

Listed first: usually something along the lines of “1 10 oz package frozen wild mushroom ravioli.”

::facepalm::

OK, I get it. Making ravioli from scratch is a time-consuming and laborious process, and we Americans are busy busy bees. Even Michael is hesitant to offer it unless we’re having a crew of people over to help with the process or we have an intriguing recipe to try our hands at. But the homemade stuff is just so good that the second you bite into that pasta pocket filled with savory delight, all of that hard work–the kneading of the dough, the rolling of the dough, hunching over tables to pipe in filling, sealing and cutting them and hoping they don’t stick together while also hoping they don’t burst open in the boiling water–all of it is repaid a thousandfold. And it’s for this reason I chose butternut squash ravioli as my birthday dinner a few months ago: it was a filling we had yet to try and after spending the weekend traveling in Pennsylvania I wanted something luxurious and decadent, even if it meant that I had to lend a helping hand in order to enjoy it.

And while certain TV chefs will default to lower-common-denominator meal solutions to curry favor with the public, I have to love Emeril Lagasse for keeping it completley real during his tenure on Emeril Live! He unapologetically made complex dishes on a regular basis, and this butternut squash recipe was no different. First Michael roasted the squash with rosemary and thyme until it was soft (a process that took a little longer than prescribed), then it was pureed in a blender. Some heavy cream and more herbs (namely sage) is added to the mix and thickened, and then I attempted to put it into a freezer bag to pipe onto the pasta, but it wasn’t quite as smooth as maybe it could have been. We made it work in the end, of course, and when finished in more sage and brown butter, it’s seriously easy to forget that any strife was endured in the cooking process.

This is likely why it’s taken me so long to write about the ordeal: it’s just that good. Our normal pasta recipe can be found here, while the ravioli filling recipe is here and the butternut squash puree recipe can be found here.

Yes, it is a lot of work. Your patience, however, will be rewarded.

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12 comments
  1. You guys are so ambitious! I fear the pasta attachment on my Kitchen Aid–I’ll just have to eat ravioli at your house someday!

  2. This is the kind of thing I’ll have to work up to..

    But, mmm. I think it will be worth it.

    • It definitely takes practice, but it’s totally worth it.

  3. Jamie said:

    Fantastic. I just showed Monsieur your blog and he was also drooling over the images of all this amazing food.

    Start to finish, how long would you say ravioli takes? I’m a bad Italian: I’ve never made my own.

    • All told (including a half hour of pasta dough resting time) it takes around 3 hours at first but as you get used to making it it becomes faster.

  4. Jamie said:

    Hmm. Not as bad as I thought, actually. Maybe something to look into one rainy Sunday…

  5. Had I known how wonderful homemade pasta is, I’d have started making my own MANY years ago. As it turns out, I got a pasta roller attachment for my b’day about 4 years ago and absolutely love it. There’s nothing like homemade and butternut squash with sage and brown butter. Absolutely heavenly!

  6. Kim said:

    You remind me that I have a fire-engine red pasta roller in the pantry that’s feeling a little neglected. It’s been months since we’ve used it. The last time was actually for some butternut ravioli with sage and brown butter. And I agree 100% – the reward for making homemade pasta is SOOO worth it!!

    And yes, it irks me when I look for something like “homemade wonton soup” and the first direction is “1 12 oz. package stuffed pork wontons.” For reals?!!? :P

    [K]

  7. Lydia said:

    They look beautiful! How did you get that nutty brown crust to form on the ravioli? I like the play of texture that would add to the final dish. How did you get that to develop so they come out slightly crisp and not wet and pasty?? Beautiful!!

    • Thank you! That would be from the browned butter–you let butter and sage fry for a bit, and then finish the ravioli in it and you get that nice brown color to them.

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