Homemade Squash and Ricotta Ravioli

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: hard

‘…It’s good to see dad’s squashes from last year being used in such a yummy way. Now this is a tricky dish to tackle but as dad says practice is key and making your own pasta can save lots of money and it’s fun – so why not start with homemade ricotta ravioli!’

Pete
'Well this was absolutely beautiful! Dad always makes the best homemade pasta and I must say I did eat more than three...'

What you need

For the pasta

200g ’00’ grade pasta flour

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

Pinch of salt

For the ravioli filling

1 small to medium squash – about 900g – either butternut or Crown Prince

30g pumpkin seeds

80ml ricotta

80ml white bread crumbs

2 medium sage leaves

1/4 tsp fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

For the butter sauce

100ml butter

2 medium sage leaves

For the garnish

About 20 sage leaves

For rolling the pasta and making raviolis

Small bag of fine semolina flour

1 egg

Equipment

Pasta making machine – Marcoto Atlas

8cm ravioli cutter or cookie cutter

 



Dad's Recipe Tales

Making pasta is like making bread…

…it’s only after you’ve made 10 loaves of bread that you will feel like you know what you are doing. You will have developed a ‘knack’ and ‘feel’ for the process. The reason these two activities share these characteristics is because for novices they are hard to do, and even harder to do well.

I’m surprised that we are not told simply that making bread and pasta takes practice! Because it does. It takes time and experience to know the correct feel for the dough, how wet or dry it should be, why it needs to rest – and in the case of pasta – how use the blooming machine.

So you know what to do: make a start – each time you make pasta (or bread) it will get better and better…

How Dad Cooked It

I have used my Crown Prince squash I bought in late summer. Theoretically, it was well past its use by date – but was actually perfectly good. Deep vibrant orange flesh, still moist and delicious. This squash has a very nutty taste, which I decided to enhance with pumpkin seeds.

    1. Make the dough. Put the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the eggs and stir with a fork. This is where it gets vague in recipes and the point where you start to doubt what you are doing. Persevere. My extra yolk should avoid the need for water to help bring the dough together. Scrape the dough off your hands and surfaces as well as you can. Then try to knead the dough. It’s difficult – it’s a clump of stiff, crumbly, dry, recalcitrant dough. It will resist and taunt you. Persevere. Don’t be tempted to add more water if you can help it. A wet dough will cause havoc with your pasta machine. Gradually it will come together (trust me). Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes until it becomes fully integrated and smooth. Then cover in cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
    2. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4.
    3. Cook the squash. Quarter the squash and scoop-out the seeds using a spoon. Place on a baking tray, season the squash and drizzle olive oil over each piece. Cover the squash loosely with tin foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Check regularly.
    4. Make the pumpkin mix. Using a small food processor or blender, blitz the pumpkin seeds, a good pinch of salt, several gratings of pepper, thyme and sage. Scrape the cooked pumpkin from its skin and place in a bowl. Add the blitzed seeds, the ricotta and the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.
    5. Prepare your work space. Put the machine at an end of a table and clamp it to the table (protecting the table if necessary). Place two tea towels end-to-end next to the machine and another couple tea towels nearby to rest the finished pasta. Have a bag of semolina flour handy – you will need quite a lot of this for dusting the pasta.
    6. Roll the pasta. You will find that the dough has become magically transformed. It’s compliant and malleable. It’s lost all its fight and sits defeated. But we won’t knead it further – the machine will finish this off. Cut the ball of dough into four and roll each piece separately into a ball and cover in cling film. Using the widest setting on the machine start rolling a piece of pasta dough. Put it through a couple of times. Don’t be impatient – this part is important, it will build the silky smooth texture we need. Fold the pasta together in half or thirds and continue to roll through – do this 6 or 7 times folding each time. Dust the pasta with semolina flour and roll again. Then pass the pasta through the rollers twice at each setting dusting with semolina flour on the tea towels as you go. When you get to the last setting pass through once. Dust again and fold the sheet in half along its length and then half again – dusting between layers as they overlap. Then place the pasta on a tea towel to rest – cover loosely with cling film. Continue with the other sheets.
    7. Make the ravioli. Unfold each sheet and lay it out over a chopping board. Using a ravioli cutter, or similar, cut out the ravioli shapes making efficient use of available pasta (A silicon baking sheet is a good base for cutting-out the pasta shapes). I was able to make 10 ravioli shapes from each sheet. Continue with all the other sheets, cutting out shapes and and stacking them. Cover the stack with cling film so the shapes do not dry-out. Whisk an egg with a few drops of water pour into a small bowl. Place one ravioli shape on the board and place a large teaspoon of mixture into the centre. You could pipe this, but it should be possible to mold the mixture into a neat mound using spoons and fingers. Using a pastry brush dipped in the egg, paint the outside edge of the pasta. Take another ravioli shape and manipulate it in your fingers stretching it slightly from the centre. Then carefully lay the pasta over the mound of pumpkin mix and work the pasta over the mound with your fingers to force out the air and make a compact dome, push the pasta edges together and lift the ravioli on a tea towel dusted with semolina flour to rest.
    8. Make the fried sage leaves. Heat vegetable oil and toss a few at a time in the hot oil. Don’t let them burn or brown. When crisp remove them from the oil and drain on a kitchen towel.
    9. Cook the ravioli. Boil a large pan of water adding good pinch of salt. Add the ravioli in small batches and cook until they float to the surface and the pasta is cooked around the filling. This will take only 3 or 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and keep warm in a dish.
    10. Make the butter sauce. Melt the butter in a pan with a couple of fresh sage leaves. Add a spoon or two of the pasta water whisk to form an emulsion. Add a good squeeze of lemon and continue to whisk.
    11. Plate the ravioli. Arrange on plates and pour over the butter sauce. Scatter fried sage leaves and grated parmesan over the ravioli.

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