Friday, September 4, 2009


My seemingly endless flow of zucchini has finally, sadly dwindled down to just one or two squash per week now, lately being outshined by the just-hitting-their-stride Delicata Squash.

As the Delicatas start rolling in, I am increasingly under the gun to find ways to put them to good use. It has been on my to-do list for a little while now to put my trusty-dusty Kitchenaid stand mixer and its pasta roller attachment to work, and make up a mega batch of Delicata squash ravioli. I had no illusions about the amount of time and labor that would be involved in bringing these to fruition, so I held off on starting raviolifest until I knew that the time was right.

Today was the day.

Our computer had suddenly, mysteriously died the night before (just as suddenly and mysteriously as it seems to have resurrected itself today), removing a major time-eating distraction from my day. I had to seize the opportunity.

I even had grand plans for documenting the entire process to share here. Oh, but you know what they say about the best laid plans! In keeping with my ill luck where technology is concerned, my camera unfortunately ran out of batteries midway though my ravioli making process. (And wouldn’t you just know that I am flat out of batteries, courtesy of my kids’ energy gobbling toys?) At any rate, I will still show you what I do have, and share my yummy squash ravioli recipe with you. Please keep in mind that I am not the best measurer/documenter/writer when it comes to recipes. My cooking is highly variable, depending upon what’s in the kitchen, my mood and any other number of semi-random factors, so please bear with me if this or any of my recipes contain any gaping holes, horrendous grammar or other offensive gaffes. ;)

Delicata Squash Ravioli

3 lbs (more or less) Delicata squash
2 shallots
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp real maple syrup
Pinch of fresh lemon thyme (or any complimentary herb, fresh or dried, to your taste)
Salt & Pepper

Egg Pasta:
4 cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour (white provides a more delicate texture)
2 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
½ tsp coarse salt
½ to 1 cup of cool (not cold) water

Starting with the filling –
First, halve lengthwise and seed the squash, drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh ground salt & pepper. Bake them for about an hour in a 375 degree oven.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop and “sweat” 2 shallots in 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Shallots should be slightly caramelized, but still soft in texture.

Allow both squash & shallots to cool while starting the dough.

After the filling ingredients have cooled, scoop out the squash into a large bowl. Mash well. Add the cooked shallots, maple syrup (or sweetener of your choosing), salt, pepper & thyme and mix thoroughly.

The evolution of the squash.

The dough –
(Note: I use my stand mixer for this, as it is far easier on the hands/upper body) ;)

Put 4 cups of flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add eggs and salt. Mix well. Begin to add the water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together well and has a firm, slightly sticky feel. You may not need all of the water.

If you are using a pasta roller: divide your dough into manageable pieces, (about a fistful at a time) and put through your sheet roller. (I prefer to then fold the pasta sheet in half and pass through the roller again repeatedly until I get the texture and general shape that I want.) Flour your finished dough sheets and set aside for cutting.

If you are rolling out by hand: divide your dough into quarters (or smaller), flour well and roll out as thin as you like. The thinner you can roll the dough, the more delicate the pasta will be.

Use a small cookie cutter or other “stamp” of your choice to cut your sheets of dough into the desired shape and size of your ravioli. (I used a small, square Rubbermaid container with a fine edge as my stamp – about 1¼” x 1 ¼”.)

Place ¼ to ½ tsp of filling mixture (depending on the size of your ravioli) on each of your dough cut-outs. Wet the edge of one side of the round/square of dough and fold in half. Pinch edges together to form a firm seal. Lay finished raviolis on a cookie sheet and freeze solid, then bag and label and return to the freezer. Yields are variable, but for me, this worked out to make 8 dozen ravioli.

Whew! It was a long day of slaving over a hot oven and whirring mixer, but I am relieved to be able to scratch “Make Delicata Raviolis” off of my list. However, the squash still cometh and they cometh big time. I don’t think that I have it in me to devote another whole day of my life to this particular recipe again any time soon. Sooo… does anybody need any squash?

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