I confess: making homemade ravioli is not really the fastest way to a great dinner, but it is so very much worth all the effort. Prepare all the different components ahead of time, and you can assemble it quick-quick with minimum fuss.
We are looking at various components here: 1) roasting the butternut, 2) making the filling, 3) making and rolling out the pasta dough, 4) assembling the ravioli, 5) making the sage butter, 6) cooking the ravioli, and finally 7) plating the ravioli with the butter sauce and some toasted pine nuts. Don’t be rushed – the whole process might take you 2-3 hours, so pour a glass of wine and get someone to keep you company!
For the roasted butternut:
- 500 g butternut cubes (skinless and seedless)
- 30 ml olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 15 ml chopped sage
- 5 ml chopped thyme
For the butternut and 3 cheese filling:
- 1 batch roasted butternut
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 125 g blue cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 40 g)
- salt and pepper
For the pasta:
- 500 g plain flower
- 5 XL eggs
Assembling the ravioli:
- 1/4 cup water
- pasta sheets
- ravioli filling
Sage butter and toasted pine nuts:
- 250 g butter
- 20-25 fresh sage leaves
- 20-25 g pine kernels
Step 1Roasted butternut:
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. On a baking sheet, add the butternut cubes, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss slightly and add the herbs. Roast for a further 10 minutes until the butternut starts to turn brown and is soft when tested with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Step 2Butternut and cheese filling:
Place all the ingredients in a food processor, then process until you get a course pulp. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then process again to mix thoroughly. Scrape the filling into a mixing bowl, then wash and dry the food processor for the next stage.
Step 3For the pasta:
Place the flour and eggs in a food processor, then process until it resembles large cous-cous grains (it takes about a minute). Turn the “grains” out onto a wooden board, then press it together to form a ball of dough. Lightly knead the dough to a smooth consistency, then cut it into 5 equal pieces. Using a pasta rolling machine, roll out each piece of dough to a very thin sheet (thinnest setting) of about 12 cm in width. Lay out the sheets on a large floured surface, ready for the next stage.
Using a pastry brush, brush half of each pasta sheet lenghthways with water (the reason we do this is to make sure the pasta sticks when we fold it over lenthways after filling it). Using a teaspoon to create “drops” of filling, place a row of filling drops lengthways down the middle of each pasta sheet, about 5 cm apart. Now fold the pasta sheet over lengthways, making sure the gently press out any air bubbles that are forming (press from the fold to the edges). When each ravioli sheet is tightly sealed, used a pastry cutter to create generous rounds of individual ravioli. Place them on a floured tray until ready to boil.
Step 5Sage butter:
In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and let it simmer until it starts to turn light brown and starts to smell nutty. Watch it carefully, or otherwise it will quickly burn and you’d have to start from scratch. Swirl it lightly every now and then. When you see that it starts to brown, drop all of the sage leaves into the butter, and fry it for about 10-20 seconds, swirling the butter around to cover all the leaves. The leaves will quickly fry and become crips. Remove from the heat at once and set aside.In a small pan over medium heat, carefully toast the pine nuts without adding any oil until they turn a golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 6Cooking the ravioli:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When the water is boiling rapidly, drop about 1/2 of the prepared ravioli into it, then cook for 4-5 minutes. They are ready when they are floating on the surface and the edges are just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon into individual serving bowls.
Step 7Plating the ravioli:
Working quickly, drizzle each portion of ravioli with sage butter, and top with a few toasted pine nuts. Serve at once – freshly cooked pasta is always best served immediately!