Relish: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Candied Sage
I want to start this out by saying that making your own pasta is exciting and rewarding. It’s also not too complex, especially once you are familiar with it. The pasta dough recipe I included, which originally comes from AllRecipes, is the simplest and most effective recipe I’ve used for dough, too. With all of that said, it can be difficult to get the dough thin enough if you don’t have a pasta machine, and you may have other reasons as to why making pasta dough sounds too daunting to tackle. If you have any recommendations for someone who is nervous about making pasta dough, share in the comments! One suggestion I’ve heard for making your own ravioli without having to make the dough is using wonton wrappers. The texture will be slightly different, but the tradeoff of the time and effort saved might be worth it. Besides, the true star of this recipe is the filling.
If you grew butternut squash this past season, you may very well still have a few sitting around your kitchen or cellar: I know locally-grown ones are still available at the grocery stores here. As the winter temperatures plunge, I find butternut squash to be incredibly soothing whether it’s in soup, pasta, or just baked with some brown sugar sprinkled on top. What I love about this ravioli recipe is how it combines this with the cheesy goodness of ricotta, parmesan, and cream cheese, as well as the complementary flavors of sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mmm! And if you make a big batch of ravioli, you can keep them in your freezer (or maybe even outside for you far-north folks) to occasionally use throughout the winter.
I love how orange butternut squash gets when you roast it for the purée! Butternut squash purée can be good for soups and sauces, so if you have some left over after this recipe, just freeze it in a resealable bag to use for later. If you have leftover pasta dough when you’ve finished using up your filling, you can also put that to use by cutting it into strips and hanging them over hangers to dry. This leaves you with homemade fettuccine ready to boil!
If you’re using homemade dough, you can have some fun with shapes by using your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the ravioli halves. This recipe could easily become a fun family project! If you just want to make no-flair ravioli, then squares will probably be your best bet to avoid unused dough. You should lightly brush the inward-facing sides of each ravioli half with an egg wash. I want to stress that you want this to be a very light amount of egg wash or else you can make your halves too slippery. The reason for the egg wash is just to make the dough a little sticky so the halves will hold together and seal. You can make the sealing process easier on yourself by not overfilling the ravioli, too.
The candied sage leaves add a lot to this dish. It’s great if you have a potted sage plant you can pick leaves from, but sage leaves should be available at most grocery stores. Be sure to take the leaves out of the sugar mixture before they get too dark. Once you do, they really only need to sit for a short time before the sugar is all hardened and you can crumble the candied leaves. Melted sugar can cause serious burns, though, so be cautious in handling these.
Once you get comfortable with making ravioli, this is a great way to prepare for meals in advance. Pasta machines can vary in cost–I found mine at a garage sale for $10–but it’s a good investment if you think you would start making more pasta. Pasta is very versatile, and I’ll be making it more frequently as I play with ideas for seasonal ravioli fillings and alternative flours for the dough. What do you think would make good flavor combinations in ravioli filling?
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup butternut squash purée
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tbsp parsley
- Candied Sage
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 15-20 medium-sized sage leaves
- Putting It All Together
- water or egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tbsp water, combined)
- olive oil
- grated parmesan cheese
- In the bowl of a mixer, sift together the flour and salt, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a dough hook.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 minutes.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or fully cover it with a damp cloth and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Using a pasta machine or a roller, roll the dough to your desired thickness.
- To make your own butternut squash purée, start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Carefully cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, brush the cut side of each half with oil, and place on a baking sheet with cut sides down. Then roast in the oven for about 45 minutes (until you can easily poke a fork through the skins), let cool, remove the skins, and purée in a food processor or blender.
- In a thick-bottomed pot, melt your 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and stir in the chopped shallot and garlic. Simmer while stirring until the shallot seems to soften.
- Add the 1 cup of butternut squash purée, the salt, the ground sage, the ground nutmeg, and the ground cinnamon and mix until combined.
- Remove the butternut squash mixture from heat and add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese, stirring until the cheeses have melted and mixed in.
- Add the parsley and stir until combined.
- In a small pan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add the brown sugar, pure maple syrup, and nutmeg, stirring to combine.
- Once the mixture starts to bubble, add 15-20 medium-large sage leaves and stir until you notice any sage leaves starting to darken.
- Carefully remove the sage leaves from the pan and place on wax paper or parchment paper to cool.
- Once cooled, crumble the candied sage leaves.
- Cut your dough into ravioli halves
- Very lightly, brush the halves you’re about to fill with a little bit of egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tbsp water) or water.
- On one of the halves, place enough of the filling to stuff the ravioli (not too much, though!) and drape another half of ravioli overtop.
- Stretch the top ravioli half enough that the edges of each half align, then seal the edge by pressing all around with a fork.
- After you finish each ravioli, place on wax paper and allow to air dry for about 10 minutes before you boil or freeze.
- If you want to freeze your ravioli for later, place them in the freezer on trays until they are somewhat frozen (about an hour or more). Then you can put them in a bag and continue to freeze. If you put them all together too early, they will stick and freeze together.
- If you want to serve right away, or if you are serving after freezing, bring a pot of water with a little oil to a boil over medium heat. Add the ravioli and boil for 2-3 minutes, then strain.
- Plate the ravioli, then drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with candied sage, and top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!