Friday, November 06, 2009

Kale Filled Ravioli With Creamy Squash Sauce

Oh stop scrunching-up your face-it'll stay like that!

I know that it looks rather uninteresting from the photograph, but trust me when I tell you it was worth the hours I devoted to making it. I did manage to freeze another dozen ravioli for future use from the same batch, so think of it as getting two meals for the effort of one-albeit, quite a bit of effort.

You could adapt this recipe to use pumpkin rather than squash, or spinach rather than kale, or ricotta rather than cottage cheese...and so on. Just keep to the basic proportions and you should be fine.

For the Kale/Cheese Filling:

2 cups full-fat cottage cheese, well drained and forced through a sieve
1/2 cup hard cheese, finely grated (I used Parmesan and Pepato)
1 large bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped-cooked until soft in boiling water and then drained and squeezed dry of excess water in a dishtowel

Combine well and keep chilled until needed.

For The Pasta:

3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg (reserve whites for assembling ravioli later)
3 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1-2 cups All Purpose flour plus much more for rolling and dusting

Beat eggs until light. Beat in water and salt. Add the semolina and beat well. Slowly knead-in by hand as much AP flour as it will take and still be pliable. Wrap tightly in cling film and let rest 30 minutes before rolling out.

Divide dough into 6 parts and lightly dust with flour. Roll out as thin as possible without it tearing (or use a pasta machine) and make a long strip. Brush outer edges with beaten egg whites and place a mound of filling (about 1/2 teaspoon) on the pasta leaving about 2 inches on either side. Brush in-between mounds with egg whites. Fold top over carefully and then gently press out the air around each mound of dough. Cut into squares. Dust lightly again with flour to prevent sticking and transfer to a rack to dry a bit as you make the others. When completed, you should have about 25 ravioli. If you choose to freeze some, place them on a plate in the freezer and let them solidify before transferring to a freezer bag. A piece of waxed paper between layers helps them stay flat in the bag as well. Take remaining ravioli and transfer to a waxed paper lined baking sheet dusted with flour and let sit in fridge, lightly covered until you are ready to cook. Mine sat several hours and were just fine.

Cook in boiling, salted water for about fifteen minutes at a gentle boil (you don't want them to burst). Carefully remove from water with a slotted spoon (don't just dump them out roughly into a strainer or they will be damaged). Top with squash sauce and serve hot.

For The Squash Sauce:

2 cups of cooked, mashed squash of any variety you prefer (I used an acorn and a dumpling squash)
2 tablespoons clarified butter
2 teaspoons crumbled sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
Thin shavings of hard cheese for garnish

I cooked my squash by halving them, scooping out the seeds and placing cut-side down in about an inch of water in a pan. 400 degrees F. for about an hour did the trick.

Make sure your squash is well-drained if you boiled or steamed it before beginning. Mash squash and then force through a sieve to remove any stringy parts. Place squash in a heavy saucepan with about half of the vegetable stock, the spices and butter. Cook over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk to incorporate. At this point, you may need to add the rest of the stock, depending on how thick your puree was-this is really a matter of taste. You can always use the stock to thin it down later if need be. Cook about ten minutes until sauce thickens, whisking now and then. Before serving, stir in the sour cream and heat through. Pour over cooked ravioli and top with cheese. Serve immediately.

No comments: