Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Thyme Butter

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Thyme Butter

Are you as unabashedly twitterpated by Autumn as I am?  The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and the list of things that happens gives me a chance to emphasize my love for the oxford comma!  Actually, I’m just happy I can walk from Rockefeller Center to my office without visibly sweating through my work shirts.  Oh, and the layers–love me some layers–scarves, vests, cardigans, and knitted oxford commas.  You’ll notice just about every seasonal menu item is going to have some sort of pumpkin, some sort of spice, or if you’re lucky…both!  So I’m just going to ride this cliché train right into advanced metaphor station–with a curried butternut squash stuffed homemade ravioli, finished in a browned thyme butter and pine nuts. It’s going to taste like Autumn!  Squash stuffed ravioli recipes usually use a sage butter, but I think it’s a little overpowering so I went with thyme–and instead of getting the sharpness of an aged cheese, I decided to use curry spices in the squash.

Like a hike through upstate New York in October


Homemade Ravioli:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Curried Butternut Squash:

2 cups butternut squash
3 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon each of:
Chili powder
A dash each of:
Ground clove

Browned Thyme Butter:

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons small diced butternut squash
splash of lemon juice

Homemade pasta is not that hard–and fresh pasta beats out dried pasta every time.  You can even make it without a fancy pasta maker, or a stand mixer with a dough hook.  On a large clean surface, shape the flour into a well. In a separate dish, mix the salt, oil, water, and two of the eggs–then pour this mixture into the well.  Using your fingers, gently incorporate the flour into the well until you start getting what looks like dough (that’s what you’re making here, isn’t it).  If all of the flour doesn’t incorporate, it’s fine, just spread it around on the counter so your ball of dough doesn’t stick.  Knead the dough for about ten minutes until it’s nice a shiny.  Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for one hour.

For the filling, cut the squash into medium sized chunks and add it with the stock into a medium pot. Heat to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes.  Strain the mixture through a colander and mash it, adding the spices (I swear, a dash is a unit of measure!).

Once the pasta has been in the fridge for an hour, take it out and use a rolling pin on a floured surface to roll it out until it is about an 1/8 of an inch thick.  This will take some working, the dough is elastic because of the gluten.  It also helps if you can roll it symmetrically, because the next step is to cut and gently set aside one half of the dough (for the top of the raviolis).  On the remaining half, use a teaspoon to spoon a dollop of the filling about an inch and half apart.  Brush the egg wash in-between the dollops (if you were smart, you made it like a grid, so you can have square ravioli) and place the other half of the dough on top.  Pressing down around the mounds of filling, work out the air bubbles ever so gently.  Cut around the mounds to free up the individual raviolis and press the edges together with a fork.  Depending on how thin you rolled the dough, how big a dollop you used of the filling, and a your spacing, you’ll end up with 25-40 ravioli, enough for 3-4 people.  If you want to make these beforehand, they can be stored between plastic in the fridge, but if you plan on cooking them right away, you should start boiling a large pot of a gallon of water.

Before you drop the ravioli in the water, start your browned thyme butter. Each portion is enough for 10-15 ravioli, so adjust the recipe to your needs.  Add all the ingredients to the pan and heat on medium low, until a drop of butter on a white surface (like a plate) is more golden brown than clear.  To stop the browning and keep it from burning remove from the heat and add the splash of lemon juice.  Add the ravioli to the boiling water and gently stir to make sure they don’t stick to each other.  After about a minute or two (or three, depending on how thick your dough is and how large you made each ravioli), the ravioli will start to float to the surface.  With a strainer, remove the ravioli and let the water drain off. Heat the thyme butter until it just starts to bubble, and add 10-15 ravioli.  Toss until coated and plate.  Garnish with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

You can really taste the greens, the oranges, the yellows