Sunday, September 27, 2009

Buttercup Squash & Sage Ravioli (with Roasted Garlic & Walnut Sauce)

We're in that nice seasonal window when the gardens are still producing, the farmers markets are still rolling, and it's cool enough at night to turn on the oven and roast some veggies. Last night I roasted a bunch of garlic, a dozen beets, and a buttercup squash. I like doing this with a bunch of vegetables on the weekend, so they're easy and convenient for lunch and quick suppers during the week.

Today I used about half of the squash to make ravioli. Instead of making my own ravioli wrappers, I cheated and used gyoza wrappers. Gyoza or won ton wrappers lend themselves nicely to making ravioli, even though it's not exactly traditional. Just be careful to read the ingredients, since many brands contain eggs.

This ravioli filling was a fun balance of sweet and savory - natural sweetness from the roast squash, countered with roasted garlic, lots of fresh sage leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. That's a walnut and roasted garlic sauce on the ravioli above - I wasn't crazy about the sauce's color, but it had great flavor.

Here's the breakdown, starting with the squash filling. These quantities made me about 15 ravioli:
1 1/2 cups of roasted buttercup (or any other sweet) squash
4 or 5 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground peppercorn medley (optional - I just bought a McCormick peppercorn medley grinder, with a few different peppercorns, coriander, and allspice - good matches for squash)
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves, minced (or 2 tsp rubbed dry sage)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1. Mash the cooled squash and garlic together with a fork - it doesn't need to be completely smooth, just well combined. Meanwhile, saute the fresh sage leaves in the olive oil, just for a minute or two.

2. Add in the rest of the spices, and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.

3. Making the ravioli is simple once you do a couple. First, have about a half cup of water on hand - you'll use this to dip your fingers in, then use your fingers to moisten and seal the edges of the pasta. Place a heaping spoonful of squash filling in the center of one gyoza or won ton wrapper, being careful not to smear squash on the edges.

4. Moisten and seal the edge of the wrapper all around, then crimp together tightly in order to seal them well. If they're not well-sealed, you'll know when you cook them. You can crimp them any way you like - I used a fork on the first one below - top left - but decided to just use my fingers and crimp them all the way around like gyozas. This turns the ravioli into little bowls, which work as little basins to hold a bunch of sauce. This wasn't planned, but seems like a good idea in hindsight :)

5. You can cook these in boiling water, but I just sauted them in a little olive oil on the flat side. Then add just enough water to cover them about halfway, and cover the pan. Kept on medium heat, this steams the ravioli - the advantage over boiling is that they move around less, and are thus less prone to breaking apart or coming unsealed.

The walnut sauce is a lot easier. Just put these ingredients in a blender or food processor:

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raw walnuts
5 cloves roasted garlic
3/4 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water (or pasta water if you boil the ravioli)

And blend to make a smooth sauce. If it's not combining down, add a little more water. I warmed this in a sauce pan just before serving, but there's no need to cook it. Toss the sauce with the ravioli, and enjoy! These are sort of labor-intensive, but worth the trouble.

Here's a bowl of chili I made earlier this week. It's with some leftover guajillo chile sauce from the previous post. I was trying to think of ways to use it up, and then the obvious one hit me. It's a bean and seitan chili, with garden tomatoes and a healthy shot of guajillo sauce.


Tara said...

Autumn cooking is so much fun, and those ravioli look delicious!

Theresa said...

That ravioli look really great--I love the idea of filling them with pumpkin/squash.

Anonymous said...

Those ravioli look amazing

Jain said...

This looks delish and fancy but do-able! Lots of favourite ingredients, too, I shall try it!

Sal said...

yum the ravioli looks great. i've not seen wonton wrappers in the stores here but i like the idea.

Bianca said...

Beautiful! I made ravioli once (using those wonton wrappers) and it was such a bitch...but with delicious results. So I must commend your hard work. I know that had to take awhile. Love the idea of using roasted buttercup squash!

Sophie said...

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,....What a marvelous dinner!!

Everything is in season & I have all of the ingredients in the house!

Anonymous said...

Since you cook so well, one wouldn't be able to tell if they are gyoza wrappers or pasta sheets! Looks good buddy:)

Fact - Anything with roasted garlic is good.

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

ohmygod, that filling sounds incredible. And the ravioli look better than perfect.

I've only made ravioli with wontons, too.. but I liked how they came out.

Anonymous said...


I'm speechless.

River said...

Holy ravioli! The filling is so beautifully yellow! I like how you turned them into little bowls for maximum sauce capacity! :)

Jenn said...

The squash ravioli look delicious!

Anonymous said...

mike u are killing me here. What a creative dish. I never dabbled in pasta and the idea of sweet stuffing was what i had in mine for a recipe i wanted to try at home. I am jealous of ur tastebuds.

KarenZ said...

i'm going to try to make these for a potluck. calling on my italian roots and patience on this one!

Anonymous said...

theexilesclan said...

Really useful information, thanks for the post.