Thursday, October 20, 2011

Butternut Squash Ravioli (with GF option)

 Little ravioli pockets filled with a mixture of butternut squash (or pumpkin), cheeses and some onion and herbs. The filling is  vaguely based on this recipe from Epicurious. However, since I had no goat cheese and no sage, I  improvised.

GF matters: Ok, now I know the last recipe I posted was sort of similar to ravioli. However, on a recent trip to Williams-Sonoma we discovered a new gluten free flour called C4C. It's made by the people from the French Laundry restaurant. The flour is only available at Williams-Sonoma at the moment, and it costs about 20$ for a 3 lb bag, which means it's about the same price as King Arthur's GF flour, but pricier than some other brands, such as Gluten Free Pantry. However, the info on the bag promised it would be easier to work with than other flours, so we decided to give it a try.

Last night I went on their website look for recipes, and came up with a recipe for pasta dough. I haven't had much luck to date making fresh pasta from GF flour, and this seemed like a good opportunity to give it another try. I made half of the recipe quantity (using 6 yolks and 1 egg), and to my surprise I ended up with a reasonably elastic dough that was not too sticky. The dough proved a little bit finicky when I tried to run it through my mixer's trusty pasta-maker attachment, but once I realized the trick of  taking relatively small balls of dough and rolling them to a sheet about 1/2 inch thick before pushing them through the maker, the dough started to act decidedly like regular pasta dough. I managed to get it as far as the #5 setting on my maker, and I'm sure I could have kept going if I wanted to. Bottom line: the resulting ravioli were very easy to shape, and the dough was light and thin and tasted just like regular pasta dough. Now, it's possible you would get the same results using this recipe with a different flour mix, but all in all I was quite happy with this one

Butternut Squash Ravioli 

Ingredients (for about 20 ravioli): 

- Ravioli dough, prepared and rolled to a very thin sheet (You can use this regular recipe, or one half of this gluten free recipe, or you can use store-bought ravioli/wonton wrappers.

For the filling: 
- 1 butternut squash or small pumpkin, cut in half and deseeded (or some squash/pumpkin puree, or some frozen squash cubes).
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped.
- Some herbs, finely chopped (I used basil and mint, but use whatever you have, or skip)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp cream cheese or soft goat's cheese
- a few tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- a handful of grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper

Serving option (you can also use a sauce of your choice): 
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- red pepper flakes
- 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 425 F/ 200 C. Place the squash or pumpkin on a baking tin and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft. If you are using puree, skip this step and just put it in a bowl. If you are using frozen cubes, place them on a tin and roast them, but you will need less than 30 minutes to get them soft. 

2. While the squash is roasting, melt the butter in a small pan and fry the onion until soft and slightly browned. Add the herbs and fry a bit more. Set aside.

3. When the squash is cooked and slightly cooled, scoop the flesh of the squash into a bowl (or place the roasted cubes into it), and mash with a fork to make a relatively smooth puree. Add the onion mixture. Add the cheeses and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. 

4. Make the ravioli: place scoops of the filling on half of the ravioli dough. Brush water or egg around the scoops (to help things stick), then top with the other half of the dough. Push the dough down around each of the scoops, so that you get dough with little round "hills" of filling. Using a large cookie-cutter or a knife, cut around the "hills" to make ravioli (make sure to leave a little bit of unfilled dough around each scoop, so the filling doesn't fall out). Carefully transfer the ravioli to a plate, making sure to tighten the edges of each one as you do.

5. Heat water in a large pot and slightly salt it. When it is boiling, carefully put the ravioli into it and cook, stirring gently, until the ravioli look cooked (the dough should be softened and turn whiter).

6. While the water is boiling, prepare the sauce (if you plan to use it): heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic softened and turns a bit golden. When the ravioli are ready, drain them and add them to the pan with the oil and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, stirring gently to coat the ravioli in the sauce.  Plate the ravioli and top with grated parmesan.

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