Fall CSA - Weeknight Ravioli

[Posted by Ruth]

Thanksgiving brought us a  week off from the weekly Fall CSA.  On the one hand, I found I really missed the weekly infusion of vegetables, on the other hand, it gave me a chance to get a handle on what was already in-house.  This is the first week in a while that I'm heading to the pickup with an empty fridge and a clear conscience.

With all the Thanksgiving preparations underway last week, I was in the mood for something different for dinner.  I was longing for Butternut Squash Ravioli but wondered if I was nuts for adding that project into the pre-holiday mix.  Turns out, it's totally doable on a weeknight, with a few cheats:

  • Roast the butternut squash over the weekend.  Just pierce the skin in a few places, place whole into a 350 degree oven and roast until soft; 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the size and hardness of the squash.  Let cool a bit, peel, seed and puree.  Store the puree in the fridge until later
  • Buy wonton wrappers.  These have become readily available in most areas.
  • Get some helpers when putting the ravioli together.  I started out with my husband and older son helping but we had to dismiss my husband due to excessive finger licking.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Leek and Pea Cream Sauce

1 Butternut Squash, prepared as above
1 16 oz container of Ricotta Cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste (don't skimp on the salt and pepper as there is a VERY small amount of filling in each ravioli and you want the flavor to come through)
1 or 2 packages of wonton wrappers
Olive oil and salt for pot of water

For the Sauce:
2 Leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and finely sliced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
1 cup light cream
1 cup frozen peas
Freshly grated nutmeg, a small pinch
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

For the Ravioli. Bring a large pot of salted water with some olive oil in it to a simmer.  Do not bring to a full, rolling boil. Mix the pureed squash with the Ricotta, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor.  If you are using a different sauce or just some browned butter you can also add some minced or roasted garlic. 

Keep the wonton wrappers loosely covered with a damp paper towel to prevent drying and have a cup of water handy.  To fill put a small amount of the squash filling on one half of the wonton wrapper, wet your finger and run it over the edges on one half and seal, folding diagonally.  After a few practice rounds, you'll be able to judge how much filling you can use before it begins to seep out.  Anywhere it seeps out will come open in the water.

As you put them together, cover the assembled ones with another damp paper towel and try to lay them out flat as they tend to stick together if piled up.  When they are all assembled, cover while you make the sauce.  (Or have your helpers assemble them while you make the sauce!)

 For the sauce:
In a heavy pan, cook the leeks and garlic in olive oil over medium/low heat until quite soft.  Add the cream, salt, pepper and peas, raise heat to medium/high and cook, stirring constantly until the peas are cooked and the cream has reduced and thickened a bit.  Add nutmeg, taste and adjust seasoning.

Place the Ravioli in the simmering water, stir very gently, raise heat just enough to keep it at the simmer and cook until just tender.  This will take 3-5 minutes during which you should watch them, and check one periodically.

Remove from water to a platter, top with sauce and the shaved cheese.  With help, this weeknight dinner was ready and on the table in just under 1 hour.
One squash made quite a lot of filling.  We decided to just fill one package of wonton wrappers, which made enough for 4 for dinner.  The leftover filling also made an interesting side dish the next day.