Butternut Squash “Ravioli” with browned butter, raisins and pecans

Last week some friends dropped off a couple of home grown butternut squash for us to enjoy. My initial plan was to roast them and use them as a side dish for an upcoming meal however I had been craving raviolis lately. These delicate little puffy pillows filled with goodies. They require a little bit of time but are so worth it. Stuff them with practically anything, depending on what’s available and what the mood calls for. Round or square or triangles – I do love them so!

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I sometimes cheat with my raviolis. Yes you heard me correctly. Making home made pasta dough and making them from scratch is obviously the ideal way. Fresh pasta sheets from the store is also an option although I do find the pasta sheets in general too thick for raviolis. Rolling them out with a rolling pin or a hand crank pasta machine would work. The other option, should you not be in the mood to deal with fresh pasta dough, is to grab a pack of fresh wonton wrap sheets in the produce section of your grocery store. They are already cut into perfect squares, perfect thickness. When boiled, the similarity to pasta is striking. So. This dish is made using these. The recipe can of course be used with your beautiful home made pasta dough as well!

Filling:

1/4 cup each of dark and golden raisins

1/4 cup brandy or cognac

1/4 cup water

1/2 butternut squash

1 tbsp parsley

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

1/2 cup pecans

Olive oil

1 tbsp sugar

Salt & pepper

40 wonton sheets

1 egg, lightly whisked

2-3 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix the raisins, brandy and water in a bowl. Set aside

Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1” pieces.

Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 30-45 min until soft. Let cool.

In a bowl, toss pecans with a light drizzle of olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Spread out evenly on a separate baking sheet and bake in the oven along with the squash for about 10-15 min. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

In a food processor, puree the butternut squash along with the mascarpone, ginger and parsley until smooth.

Set aside.

Ravioli:

Sprinkle flour onto a flat work surface and place the wonton wrappers evenly.

With a pastry brush, wet each wonton sheet with the whisked egg.

Using a piping bag or two spoons, place a scant tbsp of filling in the centre of 20 of the wonton wrappers.

Take an empty wonton sheet and place on top of a sheet with filling. Egg mixture facing each other. With a cookie cutter, trim the raviolis to make them smaller. With a fork, press along the sides to seal the ravioli and prevent filling to escape.

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Cook the raviolis 2-3 min. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Assembly:

In a cast iron pan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the raviolis. Saute until lightly browned. Add the raisins, brandy and leftover pasta water.

Crumble the pecans and add.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Grandmas’ Pickled Cucumber Salad

c1This is a simple and delicious recipe for a pickled cucumber salad. I remember sitting in my Grandmothers’ kitchen as a kid. Green and orange flowery wallpaper covering the walls and a matching round dining table set. Also green. We were about to devour her amazing meatballs, potatoes, creamy gravy and these perfectly matched pickled cucumbers.  On a shelf next to the table was a hand cranked coffee grinder. Simple design, yet its leavers, slots and drawers fascinated me. A perfect distraction and entertainment at the table until food arrived. I wonder what happened to it…

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2/3 cup white vinegar

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 pinches salt

2 pinches pepper

In a bowl add vinegar, water and sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir well, then place in the fridge for 2-3 hours, stirring it once in a while. Serves 4

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