Updated: Aug 26, 2021
This sweet, nutty, Japanese squash became popular in the states only a few years go, and it's clear why (recipe link). It has health benefits like beta-carotene/Vitamin-A and loads of fiber in the skin, which I often keep on except for the lumpy bits. In addition to that, it's delicious and velvety in texture when cooked, something like a sweet potato crossed with a butternut squash. It's super versatile; used in vegetable tempuras, soups, purees, roasted as a side, and in this case - in ravioli! Be careful when cutting. I like to slice off a thin layer from the base to give a firm foundation before cutting in half and removing seeds, which can be roasted like pumpkin seeds if you so desire.
This recipe combines roasted kabocha with ricotta and grated pecorino. For finishing, brown butter sage sauce is all that is needed to tie the flavors together.
4 servings (2 if you're very hungry)
Pasta maker (or rolling pin)
Ravioli wheel (or cookie cutter, glass, or knife)
medium kabocha squash (1 - 1.5 lbs)
1-2 tablespoons e.v. olive oil
8oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1oz grated pecorino romano cheese (or parmesan reggiano), more for finishing
3 large sage leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
salt + pepper to taste, plus salt for pasta water
1---Pre-heat oven to 350F. Quarter and deseed the squash, then cut into 1/2" thick wedges. Toss in e.v. olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Place in single layer on large sheet pan lined with parchment paper for easier cleanup, and roast for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. The squash should be tender when pricked with a fork. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. This can be done a few days in advance.
2---While the squash is roasting, make the pasta dough according to recipe linked above (this should take about 10 minutes) and cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap for 30 minutes. The timing should align with the squash being ready for the next step.
3---Combine about 14oz of the cooked squash with the ricotta and pecorino romano cheese. If you don't have a kitchen scale (really, get one because it's much better to cook and bake with one) this is about 2.5 cups worth. Honestly, I'm guessing because I didn't measure except for the weight. The ricotta-to-squash ratio is about 1 to 2, but it's loose so being exact really doesn't matter here. If the mixture is dry, add a little bit of water or vegetable stock until it is wet enough to stir without too much effort and can be formed into a loose ball in your hands.
4---Make the pasta sheets. Keep a small bowl or shaker of flour at the ready to use as the dough becomes tacky. Working with a ball of dough the size of a golf ball, roll it through the pasta maker on its widest setting (mine is a 7). Fold, pass through again. Repeat a few times until the dough is a rectangle about half the width of the rollers. Change the width setting to one thinner and pass through once. Keep reducing the thickness until you hit the second-to-thinnest setting. You should have a nice long sheet of pasta, ready for filling.
If you don't have a pasta maker, use a rolling pin. Keep flouring the dough and work surface as you roll until you get the dough thin enough to see some light passing through.
5---There are many ways to fill and cut ravioli; ravioli boards, a round or square stamp, a 2-2.5 inch cookie cutter or glass with that size opening. You can even use a knife and then a fork pressed on the edges to seal. Here, I've used a ravioli cutting wheel. This part is easy, don't overthink it. Scoop a tablespoon of filling into your hands and roll into a tube or ball shape and place an inch from one end of dough rectangle, on center. Repeat, spacing filling about 2 inches apart. If your filling is too wet for your hands, plop it on the dough with a spoon or use a piping bag. See? So many ways. I made little tube shapes, and they got bigger as I kept going. I'm not one for uniformity when it comes to ravioli, other than dough thickness. I find a bit of size and shape variety to be a good thing. They will cook at the same rate. Fold one side over to meet the edges and use your ravioli wheel (or whatever you're using) to cut and seal each of the ravioli.
Place finished ravioli on a floured sheet pan in a single layer. If you would like to save some for later, we recommend freezing them and cooking directly from frozen. When refrigerated, the moisture from the filling causes them to get a bit gooey.
6---Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt (about 2 tablespoons) and place a large sauté pan over medium heat. We want to add the ravioli to the water at the same time we add the butter to the warmed sauté pan, so if you have an electric range, you will need to wait a bit longer. Gently add the ravioli to salted, boiling water and then add the butter to the sauté pan. Give the ravioli a few slow stirs to ensure they don't stick together. Do not add olive oil to your water as it does nothing except waste olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the sage and a pinch of salt. Keeping an eye on the heat, allow the butter to brown but not burn over the course of the next 1-2 minutes as the ravioli cook. The ravioli will float to the surface when done. Scoop them out with a skimmer or slotted spoon and add directly to the sauté pan. Once all ravioli is added, give them a few careful flips to toss the ravioli in the brown butter sage. Plate and finish with grated pecorino romano. Sweet, salty, buttery, sage-y. Enjoy!