Cooking with Maine Women Writers: butternut squash ravioli

March 4th, 2014 by Laura Taylor

ravioli

This time of year, it can be hard to eat local. More squash? Potatoes? Again? Sigh.

We’re starting to reach the end of our winter stores and might be quite tired of root vegetables, squash and the like. (Personally, I love root vegetables and I adore winter squash but not everyone in my house shares this devotion.)

I decided to try my hand at homemade ravioli to see if I could get the rest of the family to appreciate the wonders of the butternut squash. The recipe comes from a beautiful cookbook here in our collection called Portland, Maine Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from Casco Bay. I’ve mentioned it before in my post about my semi-successful adventure in gelato-making.

This ravioli recipe is from Local Sprouts. I’ve never had their version, so I can’t say how my homemade one compares – but I will say that it was quite tasty! It was my first time making homemade pasta and while it wasn’t exactly difficult (very easy, in fact) mine turned out a little thicker and tougher than I wished. I guess I need practice!

ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter
(Serves 4-6)

  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash puree
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 ounces plus 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 recipe pasta dough*, rolled out into wide ribbons about 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add the squash puree and cook until the mixture is slightly dry, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper. Stir in the cream and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of the cheese and nutmeg to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cool completely.

Cut the pasta ribbons into 3-inch squares. You will have approximately 40 pieces of dough. Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each pasta square. Bring one corner of the square to the opposite corner, forming a triangle, and pinch the two open sides to seal the filled pasta completely.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes or until the pasta floats and is pale in color.

Remove the pasta from the water and drain well.

Season with salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter. Add the sage to the butter and continue to cook until the butter starts to brown. Remove from heat.

To serve: Divide the ravioli between the serving plates. Spoon the brown butter over the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining 2 ounces of grated cheese over the plates and garnish with parsley.

*The intro states: For the Butternut Squash Ravioli…use your favorite pasta dough, or try East Ender’s recipe (see below).

For the pasta:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • Splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of milk

To make the pasta: Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add egg yolks, egg, oil, and milk. Using your fingers, slowly mix in flour from the edges, kneading to make a stiff dough. Lightly flour a smooth work surface and turn out the dough, pushing it and kneading with the heels of your hands for 15 minutes. The dough will become silky and elastic as you knead. Gather into a ball and cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Take out of the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and use a rolling pin, pasta roller, or wine bottle to roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

My notes: I could not get my pasta thin enough, and thus didn’t have nearly 40 squares for filling. I had about half that, which left me with leftover filling. (Yum.) Since I didn’t have as many raviolis, I only used half the butter for the brown butter with sage. I managed to win over one person in the house to the joys of butternut squash, but the two littlest members of the family remain unconvinced.

Cooking with Maine Women Writers: maple gelato

August 28th, 2013 by Laura Taylor

This post was intended for maple syrup season, way back in the spring. But life got in the way, maple syrup season ended and the post remained forgotten. Then summer came along – the perfect time for gelato! – but with summer comes family barbecues, beach days, and hot weather. I don’t know about you, but hot weather generally means I’m not up for spending time at the stove. And despite this recipe being for a delicious frozen treat, there is some standing at the stove involved. Not a lot, mind you, but some. Even some is too much for me when it’s 85 degrees in my kitchen and the cool waters of our favorite swimming spot are calling my name.

Complicating matters, I don’t actually own an ice cream maker, which you will need to make this recipe.

However, at the end of the summer, at one of those family barbecues, an aunt came forward with an ice cream maker she’d never used! She’d seen a Facebook post of mine back in the spring asking to borrow an ice cream maker (for this very recipe) and remembered, all these months later.

So, with no other excuses to be made, I decided to finally get down to business and make myself (and my family if they were lucky) some maple gelato.

The recipe was published in Portland, Maine Chef’s Table by Margaret Hathaway, a beautiful cookbook containing recipes from nearly 50 of Portland’s wonderful restaurants. Think Otto’s mashed potato, bacon and scallion pizza, Silly’s fried pickles, and Duckfat’s pork belly “BLT,” to name a few of my personal favorites. There are a multitude of others, including this one – Maine maple gelato from Maple’s Organic.

Maine Maple Gelato
makes about 1 quart

  • 1 cup maple syrup, darkest available
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heatproof bowl, beat together maple syrup and egg yolks until the mixture is noticeably lightened in color. Set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and sea salt to a boil, then remove from heat. Whisking rapidly to prevent the eggs from scrambling, stream about 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Stream this mixture back into the remaining hot milk, again whisking rapidly. Add the cream, mix thoroughly, and refrigerate for several hours. When thoroughly chilled, freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions in the ice cream maker of your choice.

So after freezing our ice cream bowl, per manufacturer instructions, and making this delicious ice cream mixture, turns out the never-been-used ice cream maker we had been given…doesn’t work. Oh no! What’s a gelato-loving girl to do? Our mixture was already starting to freeze in the bowl, so we just turned the insert by hand. Sure, it’s not as automatic as simply turning it on and coming back in under 30 minutes to a perfectly frozen creamy treat, but it worked. Mostly. After a short stint in the freezer to firm it up some more, it was pretty much perfect. (And by perfect, I mean it was sort of icy. I blame operator error, not the recipe.) But! It was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I never had a chance to take any photos of it! I always like to accompany my blog posts (especially food posts) with a lovely photo, but our photo subject in this case didn’t stick around long enough.

As we head into fall, I suppose I’ll have to start searching our collection for some fall-inspired recipes! But first I’m going to enjoy every last moment of this beautiful summer. Gelato, anyone?