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Ravioli Zucca (Butternut squash ravioli) & Garlic-Pepper Dino Kale

December 12, 2008

Butternut squash ravioli (Ravioli Zucca)

This is a typical dish from the north west of Italy, usually prepared with pumpkin but any winter squash will work well. I like to use butternut squash. It is typically fried after boiling, served in a brown-butter sage sauce. I call it typical and not traditional because it only came about around the 1800’s or so (well, same with Italian pasta in general), and there is argument between the French and Italians as to who came up with this dish. Some accredit inter-country marriages to the leaders of regions in Italy or vice versa to its spread, and admittedly some of the technique involved is typically French. I’m gonna vote Italian, though.

I used some of the butternut squash I had received in my bi-weekly Farm Fresh to You shipment as well as the dino kale that came this week from the Capay Valley. And in the name of honesty, I made this with my neighbor Marta a few days ago, had leftover filling, and made it again last night. She prepared some delicious roasted brussel sprouts for our meal.

For the Pasta:

1 small butternut squash, halved & seeded
1 portion fresh italian egg pasta (my recipe is here)
1/2 tsp ground sage, and/or several leaves fresh sage
amaretti cookies (a light, almond cookie that is about bite sized or as large as a golf ball, also from the north)
1/4 C walnuts
1/2 stick butter
olive oil
salt & pepper

Roast the squash with olive oil, salt, & pepper face down at 350 or 375 until tender and bright orange. Seperate the flesh from the skin and add to a food processor along with several amaretti (4, 5?), the ground sage if you’re choosing that option, salt, pepper, and walnuts. Reserve some amaretti. Puree until mostly smooth or no large chunks remain. You’ll be using this in small amounts to fill your ravioli, so it’s important it’s smooth and won’t tear the dough.

Roll out your dough after it has rested sufficiently. I would recommend an alteration to the recipe to include 1/2 size 00 semolina flour and 1/2 size 00 farina/white wheat flour. This will make the dough more elastic and forgiving and better suited to a stuffed pasta.

Making ravioli with a mold

Making stuffed pasta in a ravioli mold

Making the dumplings: use your own method or ravioli tools, or follow the technique I used in these goat-cheese beet raviolis to make a different stuffed pasta shape (minimal dough waste in my opinion), or cut squares or circles to attach together. If you’re attaching two sheets of pasta together, I recommend using a touch of egg on your finger or at least a bit of water to help it adhere. Make sure to roll out only what you need as you can use it, or it will go dry and create problems when shaping the dumplings.

Toss your finished raviolis into boiling, salted water. Remove them with slotted spoon or gnocci paddle, and put them directly in a large sautee pan with your melted, medium high heat butter. It should sizzle.

Let the ravioli/tortelloni fry until bubbled and golden or browned at least on one side. Toss occasionally. If you choose to use fresh sage, you’ll want to fry the dry, cleaned sage in the butter before adding the ravioli. Serve and top with crushed amaretti.

Sauteed Lacinato Dino Kale with red bell peppers & garlic

For the Kale:

1 bunch dino kale (soft, bubbly dark green variety), washed, cores removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, diced
olive oil

In a large sautee pan, cook the garlic & pepper at medium heat in olive oil until softened. Add the kale and continue to cook until bright green and more tender to your liking.

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