My first “real” post to my Foodwhisperer blog – something I’ve been meaning to start for a LONG time now (2+ years). My intent is for this to become my “hobby blog”, so I can lessen the number of questionably relevant posts on our Muddy Dog Roasting Company blog. I had big ideas on how I would start this one, most of those ideas involving pomp and circumstance. In the end, I guess I have to just start. Unceremoniously. So here goes.
My family loves pasta. Especially filled pastas. This weekend was a good opportunity to make some squash filled ravioli from the bounty of the Westen Wake Farmer’s Market.
Pasta is simple. Really. Time consuming, but simple. Take two cups flour. Add two pinches salt. Mix well. Put on a board and make a volcano. Into the volcano, crack two eggs. Start pulling the flour into the eggs (we get ours from Ricky Barbor @WWFM), mixing as you go. You will have to add some liquid, too. This is the part that requires some judgment – the amount of liquid you need will vary depending on the size of your eggs, mainly. Start with about 1 TBSP each of water and olive oil, that shouldn’t be too much. Knead for a few minutes. If dough seems dry, add a little more oil, or water, or both. A good way to do it is to just wet your hands and then keep kneading.
Once you have a nice dough, you’ll need to roll it thin. I use an inexpensive hand-crank pasta roller. My brother uses a wine bottle. You can buy a fancy attachment for your stand mixer. In any case, you want to wind up with sheets about 1-2 mm thick.
The filling is a make ahead. I used a Blue Hubbard squash from Eco Farms @WWFM (I think it was them, anyway!). The hubbard has a nice texture and moisture content for this job, but most winter squashes will suffice. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, place cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 300F for about 30 minutes (depending on size), in any case, till the flesh of the squash is soft and you can easily spoon it from the skin.
Spoon the squash into a mixing bowl, allow to cool. I used maybe 1.5 cups of squash, to which I added 1 egg, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, a generous pinch of sea salt, and some pepper. Stir to mix well.
Spoon a small amount onto the pasta sheets. This is where you can get jammed up – each ravioli tales less filling than you might guess, just a scant teaspoon will do. Lay a sheet on top, and press together in between the filling to seal the sheets together. Cut the ravioli apart in any decorative way you like. I use a biscuit cutter and play it close to the filling, personally, but you may prefer a long tail of pasta. No right or wrong way here.
Once they’re formed, cooking takes just 2 or 3 minutes. Add them gently to a pot of boiling water, salty like the sea. Stir gently to prevent them from sticking to each other. When they float, they’re done.
I like a simple topping (not a big sauce fan for filled pasta). Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil, heat. Fry some sage leaves in the oil for garnish (just a minute or so), remove and set aside. To the sage oil, add a few cloves of garlic (Redbud Farm @WWFM) and a few tablespoons of butter. When the butter is fully melted and the garlic soft (a minute or two), just add the cooked ravioli and toss.
For a great espresso after dinner, go to Muddy Dog Roasting Company @WWFM