Thursday, November 25, 2010
Years ago on Thanksgiving, I really screwed up! I was working at Chez Panisse at the time where I mastered pasta making. I was making about 40 pounds a day at that point and getting really good at it. I thought I'd show off with friends, so for Thanksgiving I made butternut squash ravioli. They came out perfectly. The butternut squash was sweet with a hint of honey, nutmeg and orange. I was so excited.
I boiled a big pot of water, dropped the ravioli into the water and got everyone to the table. I took the ravioli out of the boiling water and put them on a hot platter and topped them with nutty brown butter, toasted hazelnuts, crispy prosciutto, At the table, I grated Parmigiano Reggiano onto the top. The ooooohs and ahhhhhs were laudable down the street.
My good friend Max was there to spoon them into everyone's bowls. They loved them. "Can we have seconds?" they said.
"Of course," I said proudly.
Pretty soon, all the ravioli were gone. Well, I guess you know the end of the story? When it came time for the turkey, no one ate the roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, fall roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry with zinfandel I'd slaved over for days.
Needless to say, I didn't make ravioli again on Thanksgiving. That's why I didn't give you the recipe earlier. This way, you won't be tempted.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Lots of love to everyone.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI WITH HAZELNUT BUTTER AND PARMESAN
2 lb. butternut squash
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped sage
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Nutmeg to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into 1/4" strips
1 teaspoon walnut or hazelnut oil
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lb. egg pasta dough
Preheat an oven to 350o F. Cut squash in half, place on an oiled baking sheet and bake until easily skewered, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the seeds and skin and discard. Mash the pulp with a potato masher or by pulsing a few times in a food processor. Place the squash, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, honey, thyme, rosemary, sage, orange zest and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the prosciutto until light golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Add the nut oil and hazelnuts, and cook, stirring occasionally until light golden, 3 minutes. Remove from the pan. In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and cook it until it turns brown and just begins to smoke, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and add nutmeg.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Using a pasta machine, roll the pasta until you can almost see your hand through the dough. Place the sheet of pasta on a well floured work surface. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of squash filling at one end of the dough, just below the center of the dough. Continue to place mounds of filling all the way down the dough leaving approximately 1 1/2" between each mound. With a spray bottle filled with water, spray the edges with a very light mist of water. Fold the top half of the dough over the squash filling to encase the filling and seal around the edges. With a zig-zag roller, trim the long side close to the edge and discard. Cut in between each ravioli.
Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook until tender 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Toss carefully with the brown butter. Garnish with prosciutto, hazelnuts and Parmesan. Serve immediately
Serves 6 to 8
EGG PASTA DOUGH
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs
1 tablespoon water
In the bowl to the food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the eggs and water and process until the dough forms a soft ball but is not sticky. If so, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it isn't sticky. Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and knead on a very lightly floured board until soft and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the dough rest wrapped in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.
Makes approximately 1 lb. pasta