It’s finally starting to feel like fall in the South, and the cooler temperatures and falling leaves pair perfectly with the warm and comforting flavors of this butternut squash dish. This recipe does have multiple steps and ingredients, but the results are worth the effort!
Recipe and photograph by Lauren McElwain
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
1 shallot or small onion (minced)
1 large butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
1 apple (peeled and chopped)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package wonton wrappers
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, and add garlic and shallot. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Add butternut squash, apple, nutmeg and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and almond extract, and turn the heat up to high. Allow mixture to reach a boil, and then lower the heat to medium-low (closer to low), and simmer covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the squash is tender, pour mixture into a strainer, and press out excess liquid. Try to get it as dry as you can. Pour into a food processor, and add the sage. Pulse or blend until the mixture is creamy. Transfer to a large bowl, and blend with ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
To make the ravioli, lay out several wonton wrappers on a plate. Keep remaining wrappers in the package. Place 1 Tablespoon squash filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip a brush or your fingers in a bowl of water and spread a small amount evenly on the outer edges of the wrapper to dampen. Press another wonton wrapper on top to form the ravioli, and press the edges together. As you make the ravioli, transfer them to a clean plate and keep covered with a damp towel. To cook, either: boil in water for about 4 minutes, strain and dry; or, pan-sear over medium heat in a little bit of butter or vegetable oil for 4-6 minutes on each side. This method provides a nice slightly crispy texture.
To serve, place a few ravioli on a plate, drizzle with brown butter sage sauce (see recipe below), and top with a handful of toasted pecans.
Note: The filling recipe is versatile! It makes a delicious soup if you don’t strain the liquid off. It also works as a pasta or pizza sauce. It freezes well, so you can make ahead or keep the leftovers.
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
2 sticks butter
½ cup fresh sage (roughly chopped)
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a light-colored pan (a light-colored pan will allow you to watch the color of the butter). When the butter starts to brown, add the chopped sage. Cook, stirring, for a few more minutes, taking care to not let it burn. Stop cooking once the sauce reaches a lovely brown color, and drizzle over ravioli.
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