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Recipe of the Week: Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce



The Thanksgiving holidays will soon be upon us, and many families are getting ready for the traditional celebration dinner with lots of shopping trips to procure all the ingredients for the special feast, cleaning, decorating and setting a festive table, brining and cooking the turkey, lots of chopping for getting the side dishes ready. The thought of it can all be quite exhausting. Unfortunately, this year things will be a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic with social distancing to worry about and travel restrictions that are keeping most of us home. Most people these days are actually looking forward to the traditional Thanksgiving cooking preparation, probably because it will give them the sense of normalcy when they feel that they have no control over the situation they are in. In my family, we celebrate with an Italian flair — a blend of traditional dishes with Italian favorites. The family gets together at my house and everyone contributes by bringing a dish to share. Enjoy this recipe with your family. It is guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving holiday extra special. Serves eight.

For dough:

2 cups Italian “00” flour or all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

1/4 cup dry white wine

PHOTO PROVIDED Chef Loretta Paganini

1 teaspoon salt

For filling:

1 pound Hubbard squash, or acorn or butternut squash

2 Amaretti cookies, crushed

1/4 cup golden raisins, finely chopped

1/4 pound prosciutto, minced

2 large eggs

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For sauce:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup Italian pancetta, diced

1/2 cup butternut squash, peeled and small dice

1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Place flour on wooden board and form into a mound. Make a deep well in the center and break eggs into it. Add wine and salt. Use a fork to break up eggs and mix contents of the well. Slowly add flour, beginning at the top of the well so that the walls collapse and blend into the mixture. When flour is almost totally absorbed, begin kneading, pressing with the palms of your hands. Knead dough for about 20 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. (If dough is dry, add a few drops of wine. If sticky, add a sprinkle of flour.) Gather dough into a ball, place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. To test for doneness, punch dough with index finger. If it springs back it is done.

While dough is resting, cut squash in half. Remove and discard seeds. Bake squash in preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for five minutes, and puree in food processor or blender. Place crushed Amaretti cookies in large bowl. Add pureed squash, raisins, prosciutto, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Break dough into lemon-size pieces and roll each into a long, thin sheet. On half of each sheet of pasta dough, place one teaspoon of filling about two inches apart from each other. Fold other half of the sheet over the first and pinch the edges together with your fingertips. Close each chamber by crimping the dough around the filling with a pastry cutter.

Cut ravioli into individual pieces and spread on parchment paper that has been lightly sprinkled with flour. Do not allow ravioli to touch.

Prepare sauce by melting butter in a small sauce pan, lightly brown, add butternut squash, pancetta, sage, salt and pepper. Cook sauce until the squash is fork tender. Remove from the stove. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and ravioli and cook for five minutes. Drain ravioli and toss with butter sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.