For a brilliant veggie pasta option, give this wonderfully tasty butternut squash recipe a go this week.
- For the pasta
- 300g ‘00’ flour (pasta flour), plus extra for dusting
- 3 large eggs
- For the filling
- 500g butternut squash (½ small squash)
- 3 tsp olive oil
- ½ small red onion
- flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the garnish
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- good handful fresh sage leaves, depending on size
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips
- 25g pecorino of Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6. To make the filling, peel the butternut squash and cut into roughly 4cm chunks. Put in a large bowl and toss with 2 tsp of the oil, a couple of pinches of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Scatter over a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, halve and finely slice the onion. Put in the same large bowl used for the squash, add the remaining 1 tsp oil and toss well. Scatter over the top of the squash after its 20 minutes cooking time and roast together for 10 minutes more.
Tip the hot vegetables back into the mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Blitz with a stick blender (or in a food processor if you prefer) to make a thick, deep orange coloured purée. Set aside to cool for about an hour then stir in the 25g grated cheese and grated nutmeg. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool.
To make the pasta, put the flour and eggs in a food mixer or food processor and blend until the ingredients come together and form a dough. Keep the mixing for a minute, removing the lid and turning the dough every 15-20 seconds. Take care to avoid cutting your fingers on the blade if using a food processor. This will help make the dough smoother. Alternatively, bring the ingredients together with your hands, working the eggs into the flour a little at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead hard for 10 minutes, really pummelling and stretching the dough until it is silky with a slight sheen. Divide the dough into four portions and wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes
Take one portion from the fridge and remove the cling film. Roll out on a very lightly floured surface as thinly as you can – even thinner than a 1p. Turn the dough regularly and sprinkle with a tiny amount of flour if it begins to stick. You’ll know the sheet of dough is large enough when a 8.5cm fluted biscuit cutter will fit 12 times. Move the cutter across the sheet and press very lightly into the pasta so you can see where you need to place the filling.
Roll out a second portion of the pasta in exactly the same way as the first but do not mark. Divide the squash mixture in half and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each marked circle. Brush around the filling lightly with a little cold water.
Working slowly, lift the second sheet of pasta and place very gently over the mounds of filling. Using the sides of your hands and fingertips, starting at one side of the pasta sheets, very carefully smooth the pasta around the filling, pressing out the air as you go. It is important to remove the air before the pasta is cooked. Don’t try and rush this bit. (If you do end up with a little air in a couple of the ravioli, make a small slit in the side to expel it.)
Use the biscuit cutter to cut out the ravioli and place on a tray dusted with flour. Make the remaining 12 ravioli in exactly the same way as the first. If you don’t feel very confident forming the ravioli the first time you follow this recipe, divide the pasta into 8 portions at the beginning and make in batches of 6 ravioli at a time instead.
Half fill a very large saucepan with cold water, add 1 tsp fine sea salt and bring to the boil. Drop the ravioli gently into the hot water and return to the boil. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. You can test the pasta by removing one of the pieces and cutting a little off one side to taste. Return to the water if it is still a little tough.
While the pasta is cooking, make the garnish. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the sage leaves over a medium heat for 10-15 seconds or until they look translucent but don’t start to brown. Quickly lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Return the pan to the heat and add the sundried tomato strips. Cook for a few seconds, stirring until hot. Remove from the heat.
Drain the pasta in a colander and return to the saucepan. Pour over the oil and sundried tomatoes and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Divide the ravioli between four warmed pasta plates, spooning over any sun-dried tomatoes and oil left in the pan.
Scatter the crisp sage leaves on top of each pile of ravioli and sprinkle with grated cheese. Finish with an extra grind of pepper and serve.