butternut squash ravioli with brown butter lemon basil sauce

by isaac black

For the maiden voyage of the pasta maker that I bought with Christmas money, I improvised a recipe. I’m just describing what I did because I don’t know exact measurements. Maybe this will inspire you to try your own thing.

I started by boiling (most of) a medium butternut squash along with one carrot (to make it a little sweeter, and because I wasn’t sure how much squash we would end up–we had twice the amount we needed). Then I started making the sauce. I browned one stick of butter, threw in four shallots (four of the individual bulbs), which ended up being probably one shallot too many. But no one was complaining. I chopped up one roma tomato and cooked that all together until the tomato had pretty much cooked down, just leaving the skin. Then I added about 3/4 of the juice from one lemon and a splash of white wine. I added maybe 1/3 c. of grated romano cheese and salted to taste. Because the sauce was pretty shalloty, I diluted it with olive oil. Then I added a bunch of chopped basil and several cranks of black pepper.

Meanwhile, the pasta making was underway. I didn’t have too big a hand in this, but the recipe was to make a dough from 4 eggs, 3 cups of flour, and a half cup of warm water. Then you put it through the pasta machine and make strips of dough. For the filling, I drained the squash and carrot (and retained the water I boiled it in for the pasta), sauteed a couple sliced cloves of garlic in the leftover butter sauce, then deglazed the pan with white wine and sauteed the squash and carrot in that pan until I could mash it all into a paste. Since I had boiled the veggies for about 30 minutes or so, the squash was nice and soft and mashed easily. I added salt to taste, and then we placed tablespoon size dollops of filling two fingers apart on the strips of pasta, cut them into rectangles, folded it over and sealed with a fork around the edges.

Back they went into the squash water. When they floated, they were done. The raviolis were delicious by themselves, but in the sauce, and garnished with fresh basil and romano, it all came together very well. The acid from the lemon woke up the starchy, mild sweetness from the ravioli, and obviously brown butter and shallots just adds pure deliciousness. Turns out I should have made about a half stick of butter’s worth more of the sauce, and about half the amount of filling. But again, no one was complaining.