Butternut Squash Carbonara Ravioli

Warning: the recipe you are about to read is not health food.

Winter squashes are some of my favorite vegetables ever. Their sweet, creamy earthiness is welcome in almost any dish from any cuisine. Fall is their best season but, in truth, they’re wonderful year round.

This week’s challenge for 52 Weeks of Cooking was homemade pasta. I have made ravioli before, but the majority of my pasta experience comes from potato-based pastas like gnocchi or spaetzle. After my last spaetzle attempt (which ended in me crying over a pan of boiling water and getting slight steam burns), I decided to try ordinary pasta dough this time.

This pasta dough recipe from Bon Appetit is truly foolproof and lent itself perfectly to this application. Even rolled thin it maintained its structural integrity and kept all of the delicious (bacony) filling (with bacon) inside. However! If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own pasta, there’s an alternate method at the end of the recipe.

Did I mention this filling has bacon in it? Oh yeah, and LOTS of salty Pecorino Romano (if you can’t tell, it’s my favorite cheese). And gobs of sage. And the star himself, Mister Roasted Butternut Squash. These ravioli lasted no more than 24 hours before they were all devoured.

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Butternut Squash Carbonara Ravioli

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • ½ lb bacon
  • 1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 1 recipe Bon Appetit fresh pasta dough (can be made up to one day in advance)
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and parchment paper. Pour ~1 tbsp of water on the parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half and place cut side down on the jelly roll pan. Roast for approximately one hour, or until the squash is quite easily pierced through the skin with a fork. Set aside and cool completely. (This step can be done up to one day in advance.) Once completely cool, scoop out the seeds and discard. Scoop the remaining roasted squash into a large bowl. Mash thoroughly with a fork and set aside.

Set a large pot of water (roughly 8 cups) to boil on the stove.

Cook the bacon in a large pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan, but do not drain the grease, and set aside to cool. Once cool, roughly chop the bacon. Add to the mashed squash.

Dice onion and mince garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon grease, still over medium heat. Saute, stirring often, for 10 minutes. When onions are fragrant and translucent, remove onions and garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add to the squash mixture. Do not drain the bacon grease.

Chiffonade 5 sage leaves. Add the cut leaves along with the Pecorino Romano to the squash mixture. Stir the squash mixture until thoroughly combined.

If desired, dice one medium tomato and set aside.*

Roll out the pasta dough until ⅛ in. thick. Cut into 2 × 2 in. square pieces. Roll these pieces out until they are roughly doubled in size and quite thin.

Place 1 tsp of the squash mixture in the middle of one of the thin pasta squares. Place another thin pasta square on top of the first and crimp the edges with a fork. There should be enough pasta dough to make 20–24 ravioli. There should be a little filling left over.

Place a few ravioli in a strainer, spider, or slotted spoon. Working in batches, lower the ravioli carefully into the boiling water and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the ravioli float to the top of the water. Remove from the water with a strainer or slotted spoon and keep warm.

Place the remaining sage leaves into the bacon grease. Fry over medium heat for one minute and remove from the pan.

Serve 4 ravioli with a 1 fried sage leaf, 1 tsp bacon grease, a pinch of Pecorino Romano, and 1 tbsp diced tomatoes, if desired.

*Optional method: Complete the steps of the original recipe through dicing the tomato. Cook one package of wide, flat noodles (such as pappardelle or egg noodles) according to package directions and drain, reserving ~1 cup of pasta water. While noodles are still hot, add the squash mixture to the noodles and stir well. If the mixture is too sticky, add some pasta water until it is at a desired consistency. Top with diced tomatoes and a pinch of Pecorino Romano.

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