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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Peanut Butter to My Jam Cookies

It’s summertime and everyone’s working on their beach bods, I know, but seriously sometimes you just have to live a little! I would honestly give these cookies an 11/10 if that made any sense. My fiance’ ended up making two other batches of these the day after the first batch was gone (which was in less than an hour by the way). His barber saw the picture on Instagram and instantly called to request a cookie delivery to the shop. This recipe comes from my fave, of course, Giada, and it was listed in her top 25 recipes by fans, so if you don’t want to take my word, take theirs.

Original recipe here.

Here is what you need:

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Hershey’s)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup blackberry jam

Directions:

I didn’t have two baking sheets exactly the same size, but it was perfectly fine; these cookies are big, so I would suggest a larger one if you have so they don’t spread together when cooking. Move one of your oven racks to the center and preheat at 375 degrees.

Line your two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

In a medium bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt (I use a small strainer). This part is extremely important as it keeps the consistency smooth.

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In a stand mixer (I used my Kitchenaid), fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, and light brown sugar together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until blended.

With the machine running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated. *Okay, this part, make sure you do this slowly or else you will have a facial mask of flour mixture…my fiance’ did not follow my instructions one time and ended up looking like he had been through a white dust storm.

Put the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Form the dough into 1/4 cup-size balls and roll in the sugar. These come out big, but we liked it this way. If you feel like you don’t like big cookies, feel free to make them a bit smaller.

Arrange 5 balls of dough, evenly apart, on each baking sheet. Using a round 1/4 teaspoon measure, or the thin end of a wooden spoon, make a hole in the center of each ball of dough, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch deep. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam into each hole (we spooned about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon). Bake for 11 to 14 minutes until the dough has spread and the surface of the cookies are crackled. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Arrange the cookies on a serving dish and serve.

This cookie recipe is a definite crowd pleaser; it looks fancy on a serving dish and are perfect for both casual and more formal events. Best of all, these are super simple…my fiance’ made these himself not once, but TWICE…so boys, get your Kitchenaids out and start whipping them up 🙂

Let me know how yours comes out – tag #prettylittlepretzel with your PB&Jam cookies.

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