Honeynut Squash & Leek Ravioli
This year I grew my very first batch of winter squash. I loved watching the vines creep and grow, winding there way up the lattice at the back of my garden bed, and even climbing up the deck stairs! The squash started out so small, swelling throughout the season and transforming into beautifully orange, perfectly tiny honeynut squash.
I ended up harvesting 20 squash in all, about 1 pound each, many of which are still ripening on the window sills in my home. If you are thinking of growing winter squash, I would highly recommend listening to Encyclopedia Botanica’s podcast episode on growing winter squash. They do take all season to grow, and are ready to harvest right as the seasons change and you crave cozy soups and stews.
Over this past year I have grown in my love of pasta making, and more recently with filled pastas. Winter squash makes such a perfect filling - it is so velvety and brings a sweet and savory flavor to the dish. I wanted to create a winter squash ravioli that was more savory than sweet, complementing the squashes natural sweetness with rich roasted flavors. Here is where the leeks come in. Leeks are also naturally sweet, but when roasted, develop a depth and richness of flavor.
The finishing touch on this ravioli is the dough. I added fresh thyme leaves into the dough to add flecks of color and further depth of flavor. I love thyme and winter squash, as the two flavors compliment each other so well. The leaves are also beautiful incorporated throughout the dough, making the simple pasta look stunning. Hope you can find a Saturday afternoon to wear your coziest sweater and make a batch of these delicious raviolis.
Honeynut Squash & Leek Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter Sauce
Makes 48 ravioli
Roasted Honeynut Squash & Leek Filling
Makes 2 cups filling
2 honeynut squash or 2 lbs. winter squash of choice
1 small leek
freshly ground black pepper
Remove the dark green parts of your leek, and slice the white part in half length wise.
Cut your winter squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Place leek and squash on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the leek and squash for 30-40 minutes at 400 until very tender and brown in places. You may need more time based on the size of your squash.
Scoop the flesh out of your squash into a blender. Add the leek. Blend until everything is very smooth.
Scoop your filling into a bowl. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Let your filling cool in the fridge while you make your dough. I made my filling the night before so it was good and chilled.
Thyme Pasta Dough
300 g. semolina flour
100 g. all-purpose flour
1 T. olive oil
2 T. water
1 T. fresh thyme leaves removed from stems
To make the pasta dough, use the thyme pasta dough measurements above and complete steps 1-7 of the homemade pasta dough post before returning to this recipe. Return to this recipe while the dough is resting.
Cut your dough into 4 even pieces. Keep your dough wrapped in plastic wrap or in a tea towel to avoid it drying out.
Take the first piece and pinch one end before rolling it through your pasta machine on zero.
Once the dough is through, fold it in half and roll it through again. The trick with ravioli is you need it as wide as the machine roller (5 inches) and twice the length of the ravioli mold (26 inches). As you fold your dough to send it through again, keep the width of the roller in mind, trying to create a square that width. Repeat the rolling through on zero and folding 4-5 times.
Now roll your dough out until desired thickness. For ravioli, I have found 6 to be the best thickness on my machine. They are thin enough not to just be a thick mouthful of noodle but sturdy enough to withstand cooking and not break open.
Now that your dough is rolled, you should have a very long noodle. Because we have added thyme leaves, check dough for any tears or holes. Patch them with extra bits of dough.
Flour the metal part of the mold, then lay the first half of the noodle over the mold, letting the other half rest on the bench.
Gently flour the plastic mold, then place the mold on top, pressing gently. Remove mold and see the rounded bowls of each of your raviolis.
Scoop an even 1 tsp. of squash filling into each ravioli. Make sure the filling is in the center, not touching the edges of the ravioli square. Do not over fill, as it will burst (I have totally done this)
Fold the other half of the pasta over your ravioli mold. Take a rolling pin and roll it firmly over the top, rolling all directions until the metal around each ravioli edge is clearly visible.
Remove the dough around the edge, and add to dough pile. Flip your mold over and pop your ravioli out. Pinch any edges with your fingers if they did not seal.
You can use the extra dough to create more ravioli (you may need to make more filling if you want to do this. When you roll it out, use a 7 thickness instead of a 6.) or roll out the extra dough into noodles to dry and enjoy later.
Place ravioli on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Once all your ravioli are made, place your parchment-lined cookie sheet into the freezer to firm up for about an hour or so. This will keep the wet filling from effecting the texture of the noodle and help them hold together better when cooked. (You can store your ravioli for later by tossing frozen ravioli into a gallon freezer bag.)
Ravioli in Simple Thyme Brown Butter Sauce
4 T. butter
1 T. thyme leaves
1/2 c. pasta water
fresh ground black pepper
To cook the ravioli and make the butter sauce, bring 4 quarts salted water in a large pot to a gentle boil.
While the water heats up, heat an iron skillet over med-high heat. Place 4 T. butter into the iron skillet. Once butter is half way melted, add the thyme. Cook until the butter is lightly browned, then remove from heat. Set aside.
Once the water is boiling, drop all ravioli in at once and cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently.
Before straining pasta, scoop out 1/2 c. pasta water and reserve. Gently strain your pasta and set aside.
Heat your iron skillet with the brown butter over medium heat. Slowly pour in the pasta water, whisking as you pour, until sauce is creamy and well combined. Remove from heat and pour the pasta over the sauce, gently stirring to cover the ravioli in sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a crisp green salad.