Friday, 9 March 2018

One meal two ways,butternut squash ravioli with walnut sauce

One recipe two different meals, one a midweek supper that you can whip up quickly without breaking your back, the other, one that will be a little more involved.A starter for a more special occasion or for when you are catering for guests.
 My intention is that two versions on a common theme will allow extra-busy people the chance to get ahead when they have time.Prepping at the weekend for midweek suppers eases the strain.The walnut sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept in a sealed container in the fridge.The ravioli filling can be made in advance too and even the ravioli themselves can be filled up to 24 hours ahead, tossed with some flour or semolina and kept chilled in a sealed container.Which leaves us with yours and my only big headache, the pasta.You can make your basic pasta dough up to 24 hours ahead, wrap in clingfilm and chill or freeze for up to 1 month in a freezer bag.I am not providing a recipe for the pasta dough as this is something so personal.What recipe works for one fails another.You have to experiment and find a recipe you are comfortable with.Some recipes just use eggs and flour while others include semolina.Some advocate making the dough in a processor while others painstakingly apply love and knead the dough with their hands.A method I have come to prefer.Whatever recipe you go for,we are all in agreement that `00´flour is the only way to go.Another personal option is whether to roll out the dough by hand or whether to employ a pasta machine.Ideally, whichever method you go for  you want to be able to see your hand through the pasta once it is rolled.
 
I wasn't quite sure what an "open faced" ravioli would be like

FOR THE FILLING
This filling is also delicious served as a pasta sauce,in which case you should thin it slightly before using with some single cream.
1 small butternut squash,peeled seeds removed,cut into 2-3 cm chunks
125g unsalted butter
1 garlic clove sliced
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh sage leaves,chopped
100g ricotta
75g freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
1 quantity of basic pasta dough (see above)
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the squash for 15-20 minutes until very tender.Drain in a colander and leave to cool..heat half the butter in a large frying pan and cook the garlic until soft.Add the oregano, sage and the cooked squash.
Use a wooden spoon to mash the squash and cook for about ten minutes or until the mixture appears quite dry.leave to cool.Add the ricotta and parmesan and mix well.Then taste and adjust the seasoning.

FOR THE WALNUT SAUCE
1/2 garlic clove
100g shelled walnuts
Juice  1/2 lemon
75g parmesan grated
2 tbsp whole milk
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Crush the garlic and a pinch of sea salt in a pestle and mortar,then add the walnuts.Pound until smooth,then mix in the lemon juice,parmesan,milk,olive oil and parsley,one after the other.Work the mixture together so the sauce becomes emulsified,then taste and adjust the seasoning.
When ready to cook,Boil the ravioli in a large pan of salted water for 3-5 minutes.Drain lightly,then toss gently in the pan with the walnut sauce, and a little of the cooking water.Serve in hot bowls with a little parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

For the quick midweek supper version 
"Open faced ravioli" 
Take 4 sheets of fresh lasagne dough and cut them into 8 sqares.You will need four squares per portion.Boil the squares of lasagne in a large pan for about 2-3 minutes or as manufacturers recoomendation.Stir constantly to avoid the sheets sticking to each other and the bottom of the pan.I always cook an extra couple of sheets more than I need to cover this eventuality.When the pasta is cooked drain and lay the sheets out on a clean tea towel and fold the towel over to keep the pasta warm.Meanwhile heat through the pasta filling and in another pan the walnut sauce.Spoon some of the filling on the bottom of a warm plate and cover with a square of pasta.Repeat until you have used four pasta squares.Pour over and around some walnut sauce.Sprinkle with parmesan and chopped parsley. Repeat with your second portion or more.

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