This week’s blog post is brought to you by our very own Alex Benedetto, NIAF’s Senior Development Director. When Alex isn’t busy at work here at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., she’s busy in the D.C. food scene – going to restaurant openings, writing reviews on the city’s latest cocktail inventions, and writing her own personal food blog, called Hello Food Girl.
Below is one of Alex’s blog post recipes on how to make Fresh Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce from scratch. It’s never too early to start planning ahead on what you’re going to do with all those Thanksgiving Day leftovers next week!
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If you are anything like my family then you always have a refrigerator (or freezer) full of leftovers for several days following the big event – cranberry sauce, a whole half of a turkey, cornbread turkey sausage stuffing, and roasted butternut squash with garlic and herbs, to name a few.
And while I will be the first to admit that I often enjoy “Thanksgiving” for lunch the next two days after the holiday, there are only so many ways you can construct your epic Thanksgiving sandwich before it gets old, and I’m always looking for different ways to use leftovers from parties or holidays.
Pro-tip: Fill a short glass with water to use as your “glue” for the pasta sheets to stick, make sure to have flour always on hand to spread on your work-space and on the dough when necessary, and try to have some fun!
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter
Filling & Sauce:
2 cups leftover roasted butternut squash **To make this – toss cubed butternut squash, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 large garlic cloves roughly chopped, handful of chopped fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on to a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil that is sprayed lightly with cooking spray and bake for 35 minutes in 400F oven.
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
¼ cup of crushed amaretto cookies
Salt/Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5-6 fresh sage leaves
Pasta Dough: (adapted from epicurious.com)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water
To make dough in a processor:
Blend flour, eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.
To make dough by hand:
Mound flour on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water to well. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well.
Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form a dough, adding more water drop by drop if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.
Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and cover rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting.
Lightly dust 1 rectangle with flour and feed through rollers. (Keep remaining rectangles under bowl.) Fold rectangle in half and feed it, folded end first, through rollers 7 or 8 more times, folding it in half each time and feeding folded end through. Dust with flour if necessary to prevent sticking.
Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding. Continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, without folding, until you reach narrowest setting. Dough will be a smooth sheet (about 36 inches long and 4 inches wide).
To Make Filling:
Reheat the butternut squash in the microwave for a minute in a large bowl. Use a masher and mash the butternut squash until a thick puree. Add in the cheese, crushed amaretto cookie (I put the cookies in a plastic bag and crushed with the bottom of a water glass), garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
To Make Ravioli:
Lay one long sheet of pasta on lightly floured surface and every 2 inches or so put a teaspoon size scoop of the filling.
Lightly dab some water on the dough, in a square around the filling (to seal the sheet you are about to place on top).
Take another sheet of pasta and place on top of the first, making sure to press firmly around the filling to get rid of any air bubble (otherwise your ravioli could burst while boiling), and to seal the pasta together.
With a knife or ravioli roller cut out your ravioli, you can trim edges if you want to get rid of excess pasta but make sure they are sealed.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, add in the sage and let the butter start to get slightly brown.
Place ravioli in boiling water, cooking for around 3 minutes or until they come to the surface (if they come up right away give them another minute or so). Cook in batches (about 5 or 6 ravioli at a time) to make sure they cook properly.
With a large slotted spoon, transfer cooked ravioli from boiling water to the sauté pan with the butter and sage. Once you have cooked, and transferred all the ravioli to the sauté pan with the sage butter, lightly stir to cover reach ravioli with some of the sauce, making sure not to break the ravioli.
Serve with more cheese and fresh ground pepper.
For the original Hello Food Girl blog post, click here.