I’ve always enjoyed gourds. While there are things about each season I enjoy, I think that squash is the single food I look forward to the most. Gourds come with great memories: for me, it’s pumpkin seeds in October, syrup laden squash with Thanksgiving dinner in November, with a smattering of local squash for dinner in December. I’ll often find myself wistfully longing to spend time with my family over a squash in mid-July.
Because of this, I find myself planning out more and more extravagant ways to present these great gourds. Lately, I’ve been seeing pre-made butternut squash ravioli popping up more and more at my local grocery store.
Creating this recipe has been a great way for me to get my squash cravings out of the way. Whether you make your own ravioli (like I do) or simply use the sauce from this recipe, it’s an incredible dish that will fill you and your dinner guests with a warm, hearty feeling.
About 4 cups of cooked squash (roughly 1 butternut squash worth)
1 cup ricotta or other fresh soft cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Nutmeg, cloves, and sage to taste
1. If you’re making the squash yourself, peel, cube, and roast the squash until it’s done (about 30 minutes at 400 F). If you’re using boil-in-bag or otherwise pre-cooked squash, prepare it according to the directions on the package.
2. Place ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. The final consistency should be quite thick and sticky.
3. Place inside ravioli and then cook.
If you’re not a ravioli aficionado, the effort required to assemble little pasta squares might be a bit beyond you. Luckily, you can still cheat. By buying a pack of wonton wrappers (sometimes called gyoza wrappers) at the store, you can skip almost all of the hard work. All you need to do is spoon the filling inside!
1 egg, beaten
50-60 Gyoza / wonton wrappers (about one package)
1. Spoon squash filling in the center of a wonton wrapper
2. Brush the edges with egg
3. Place another wrapper on top and squeeze to seal
4. Boil “ravioli” for between 5 and 8 minutes, until done.
MAPLE CREAM SAUCE
No matter how you choose to make your ravioli, the sauce is very much a defining part of this recipe. Luckily, it’s quite easy!
Here’s how I make it.
3 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp maple syrup (agave syrup works in a pinch, but you ideally want the real stuff!)
1 tsp cinnamon
Nutmeg to taste
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once it’s liquid, add onion and cook until soft.
2. Add cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and syrup. Raise heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thick.
3. Pour over pasta and serve.
While I maintain that butternut squash ravioli is the perfect delivery vehicle for this sauce, it’s not your only option. Try it on cooked chicken, rice pudding, or anything else you think would go well with it. It’s a great departure from the usual tomato based fare that so many of us serve!
The wonton wrapper trick I mention is great for making this pasta quickly and easily, but there’s nothing better than actual home-made ravioli. If you have the patience, be sure to make your own pasta sheets and cut ravioli squares from those. Having a ravioli maker at home is a great way to simplify this process and make it easier.
Finally, while this goes without saying, be sure to use fresh local butternut squash if you’re making the filling yourself. You can certainly get away with using pre-packaged stuff, but it won’t taste quite as good. If you don’t do this already, consider visiting your local farmer’s market for high-quality local produce at a low cost.
No matter how you choose to present this recipe, it’s sure to impress all of your dinner guests. You’ll be showered in compliments and you’ll have lots of people asking you to cook for them. They’ll love it when you give them wonderful memories of their favorite Thanksgiving feasts. No other pasta dish can accomplish this feat!