squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce

There is nothing like crisp fall weather to make making squash ravioli from scratch seem like a better idea, except maybe David Tanis’ book The Heart of the Artichoke. David Tanis was a chef at Chez Panisse and is a beautiful writer. His recipes are simple, but coax the best flavor out of every ingredient he adds. His writing is just as wonderful—simple and heartfelt. This storybook-style cookbook easily convinces you to try every recipe inside. And the photos are just gorgeous. I just read the book cover to cover so be prepared for a string of beautiful David Tanis recipes.

It was a Sunday and Sundays are for cooking adventures here at Chez Jojonoodle. We had a few beautiful squash from our CSA sitting on the table and I had some time to kill before Jordan got home from work. I put on an episode of This American Life and got down to business.

While making ravioli from scratch is time-consuming, you can make this dish from start to finish in about three hours. If you relax and accept that your ravioli are going to look very, very rustic, it will be even easier.

You begin by making the pasta dough. While the dough is resting, you’ll roast the squash. After the squash is roasted and dough rested, you’ll roll out the dough and fill your pasta. Cooking the pasta and making the sauce takes only 10 minutes, which you should do immediately before sitting down to eat.

Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce, adapted from The Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis

For the pasta dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 T olive oil

For the filling
2 lbs of squash (We used carnival and golden nugget. Butternut would be great)
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup pecorino, grated
zest of one lemon
1/2 t red pepper flakes
nutmeg, for grating

For the sauce
4 T butter
a small handful of sage leaves
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, mashed
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

Place the flour in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs with the salt. Make a well in the flour and pour in the eggs. Mix well with a spoon. Pour the dough onto a floured counter and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least one hour.

Cut the squashes in half and scrape out the seeds. Put them skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until fork tender.

Scrape the flesh out of the squash skins and put in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, pecorino, lemon zest and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Grate in a bit of nutmeg and stir well. Set aside.

Using your pasta machine, roll out the dough into thin sheets.  To make the process manageable, I cut the dough into eighths and then rolled each of those pieces out and filled them one by one. I recommend that you coat the dough ball with flour to reduce stickiness and roll out the dough until you’ve reached the second to last setting.

Lay this piece of thin dough on a baking sheet and cut into squares—mine were about 4 by 4 inches. Put a dollop of filling in the center of each square. Wet the edges with a little water. Fold one side over the other and press firmly around the edges to make a seal. Set aside on a flour-coated baking sheet. Keep at it until you’ve finished with all of the dough and filling. I made about 40 ravioli.

When you are ready to eat, put two pots of water to boil. Salt them well. Add the ravioli gently and boil for 4 – 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sage and garlic, stirring occasionally as the butter browns. Once the butter has browned, season with salt and pepper and turn of the heat. Add the lemon juice. Spoon the sauce over the raviolis, top with a little parmesan and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!