Pasta challenge: a few restrictions
So I've invited some friends for dinner tomorrow night. Here's the thing. One is kosher and/or vegetarian (the line is very fuzzy for her). If the meat is kosher she'll eat it, if not, she'll go veg. Since I really don't have access to much kosher meat, I decided to make some kind of pasta dish. I have this idea that I want to do something with butternut squash and fettuccine (or similar pasta). Is there a delicious, hearty, warm and fuzzy pasta dish I can make that isn't a butternut squash lasagne? I have a recipe for lasagne with butternut squash but somehow just don't feel like lasagne. No bacon or sausage, of course (which would I would otherwise use).
I also happen to have some kosher cornish hens in the freezer if that helps. But then, of course, no cheese or dairy in the meal.
I'll be serving it with a good bitter salad and maybe some kind of green veg like rapini or broccoli. It's cold and horrible outside - I don't want a light dinner.
I decided, after all, to make butternut squash ravioli. I figured, heck - I could spend an afternoon futzing around with the things. So here's how it went.
I bought pasta sheets from a local place that makes fresh pasta. This was a good idea. But unfortunately, the pasta sheets weren't rolled quite thin enough. I had told the guy that I was making ravioli with it and assumed he would understand it should be really thin. If I ever do this again, which I probably will, I will specify VERY THIN.
The filling was as follows: 2 cups pureed roast butternut squash pulp, 2/3 cup parmesan, 1 onion (very finely minced and sauteed in a teensy bit of olive oil and butter), salt and pepper.
I laid out the sheets, placed spoonfuls of filling in rows, and brushed between with beaten egg white. laid another sheet on top and pressed as much air out as possible between the ravioli. Cut between with a pizza wheel and then pressed really hard around the edges with a fork. (Very phobic about leaking filling.) My first test ravioli revealed that the pasta really was too thick and that there was too much of it. So I trimmed each ravioli into a circle to eliminate some of the extraneous pasta. This was an improvement.
When ready to serve, I cooked them in plenty of boiling salted water. Probably cooked for 5 to 7 minutes - much longer than I expected but with such heavy pasta it really needed it. Served with sage leaves cooked in butter and sprinkled with chopped toasted hazelnuts. I forgot to add a scoop of pasta cooking water as I was tossing it all together. Next time.
Results were crazy delicious but with room for improvement.
Check out this link, for lots of great butternut squash ideas. Lots are gratins, but you could easily turn those into pasta bakes. The aforementioned gnocchi sound fabulous to me, and easier than ravioli but similarly impressive and delightful.