The Art of Ravioli

Who doesn’t love pasta, honestly?  Let’s face it, on those nights when we are starving, stomach rumbling and are too lazy to whip out 100 ingredients to make a lavish meal, pasta is our BFF.

Although I would agree that pasta from a box is easy and convenient, it’s not always the best tasting, especially after you have tried homemade pasta. Once you go homemade, you will NEVER look back – take my word on that.

In keeping with my theme and obsession with Fall everything lately, I am shying away from pumpkin for just this moment to focus on butternut squash. I was never overly in love with butternut squash until about a year ago when I made a Giada recipe that had roasted butternut squash mixed with onions, goat cheese, pasta…OMG – I think you get the idea of how amazingly delicious this dish was.  Viola – my new found love for butternut squash was born and I use it every chance I get.  We invited a friend over for dinner and he became overly obsessed too…Let’s get started on this fabulous homemade butternut squash ravioli.

Original recipe:  HERE

  • Butternut squash = 1 medium
  • Light Agave Nectar = 2 Tablespoon

Ravioli Filling:

  • Heavy cream = 4 Tablespoon
  • Parmesan cheese = 4 Tablespoon, grated, plus more for garnish
  • Brown sugar = 3 Tablespoon
  • Cinnamon = 1/4 Teaspoon
  • Nutmeg = 1/4 Teaspoon
  • Vanilla extract=  1 Teaspoon
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • Pine Nuts (Optional) = 3 Tablespoon

Sage Butter Sauce:

  • 1 Stick butter
  • 8 sage leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Take your 1 butternut squash, cut in half, and spread a thin layer of light agave nectar on the surface of both halves to evenly coat.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour until the squash is golden and soft when punctured with a fork.

Let the squash cool before handling.

Dough:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons Water (add more if dough isn’t coming together)
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

You can either manually make this dough by piling the flour on a flat surface, creating a crater in the middle of the flour and pouring the eggs and water into the center.  You slowly fold the flour into the liquid until a dough is formed.  Then you need to knead the dough until it is smooth and form into a ball.

I wanted to speed up the process so I used my kitchenaid mixer to get the dough started.  You may need to add more water if your dough is not coming together.  I then removed the dough, formed a ball and began to knead for about 2 minutes until it was smooth.

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Take the dough, wrap it in saran wrap and set it aside to let it rest for about 20 minutes.

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While the dough rests, take your cooled butter nut squash and scrape the flesh out into a food processor (discard the skin). Then add, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, salt, pepper and vanilla extract into a bowl and puree all of these ingredients together.

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Using a zip lock plastic bag, scoop the squash mixture into one corner of the bag and cut a small slit to form a homemade “pastry” bag.

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Cut your dough into 4 pieces and take 1 of the 4 pieces out of the saran wrap.

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Using a pasta maker or pasta machine, go from level 7 and run your pasta through one time through each level until you get to level 2.  Cut the sheet in half so you have two thin sheets of pasta.  One will be the bottom to hold the filling and the other will become the top to the ravioli.

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To fill the ravioli, Place 1 tbs of filling onto the dough and leaving ½ inch of dough around the edges.   I created circle ravioli using a metal circle cookie cutter; however, you can make square or any shape you like.  Moisten the circular area around each filling drop with water and top with the other sheet of thinned dough.  Press firmly so all the air is out and using the metal cutter or ravioli cutter, create the desired shape you like.  I used the ends of a cocktail fork to indent the circle pasta, to ensure no squash would escape when I boiled.  Repeat the process until all of the dough is used.

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Drop your ravioli into salted, boiling water for 4 minutes until al dente and remove with a pasta strainer.  Pour the sage butter sauce on top and grate fresh parmesan cheese for a final touch.

Happy pasta making – if you come up with any yummy variations, let me know! 🙂

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Who Said Gourmet Was Only for Dinner?

Nowadays, most of us women work just as hard as the men in our lives; FACT.  Luckily, I work from home most of the time, but that doesn’t ease the work load one bit. I actually find myself working longer hours then when I had a 9-5 office job. I sometimes even forget to eat lunch, which isn’t something to be proud of.

Today just wasn’t one of those days.  I definitely didn’t forget about lunch.  For some reason, I was starving by 11:55am, my stomach rumbling and screaming for me to put something in it.

So, I made this scrumptious recipe, credit to Giada De Laurentiis, but I tweaked a few things. Find the original recipe HERE

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta, such as farfallini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

I found these little guys in my fridge, which I was about to throw away yesterday!  Good thing I didn’t.

I chopped up 2 large carrots into 1/2 inch-ish pieces and about an inch slice of my onion since it was so large.  The recipe calls for finely chopped onion, but I was being adventurous and didn’t really have time to be precise – don’t worry, it comes out great, I promise.

The recipe calls for Farfalle or small pasta, but I didn’t have any and these are just so fun to look at.  You can use whatever you like or if you want the original, stick to Farfelle.

Sauté your onion first in olive oil in a medium non stick skillet for about 7 minutes until its soft. Then add the carrot and 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken stock. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a summer for about 5 minutes. Start to boil your pasta in another large pot of salted boiling water at this point.

So your pasta is cooking, your carrots and onions are simmering in the chicken stock…now time to add 1/2 cup if frozen peas that were thawed.

Cook with the peas for two minutes to warm them through.

Your pasta is done, so add it directly into your pan with the onions, carrots and peas and stir it so pasta is coated with all of the yumminess from the pot.  Remove pan from the heat.  Don’t throw away the pasta water – trust me, you’ll want it.

My favorite part…cheese obviously!

These need to be at room temperate before you add them. I used half of the packet of cream cheese, 4 oz and half the container of Mascarpone. Mix it in with the pasta until the cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms.

And here is your finished product! Top with a bit of chopped basil and a leaf for garnish and you’re done. When I say this is amazing, I am not exaggerating – I went back for seconds. This recipe is super easy, fool proof and who said you can’t have gourmet lunches during your work lunch break?  Sure beats fast food! :)

If you have leftovers, add some of the pasta water to your container so when you heat it up next time, it’s not dry and ready for the garbage.

Let me know how yours comes out :)