This was truly a trip into the unknown for me. Never before have I attempted to make ravioli or gnocchi, and last night I ended up making both! A few weeks ago I made shu mai, Japanese steamed dumplings. Because of that, I had about twenty dumpling wrappers left over. These are perfect for making ravioli. I’d also been fortunate enough to receive a butternut squash from my friend S. So, butternut squash ravioli seemed like the perfect idea! I started by roasting my butternut squash:
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out any seeds and innards.
- Sprinkle with pepper, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Not much nutmeg! Just a sprinkle.
- Drizzle the squash with olive oil.
- Place the two halves of the squash cut side (pulp side) down on aluminum foil, on a baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour at 425.
- This is the beautiful result:
Next we’ll make the filling for our ravioli. In a bowl mix the pulp from one side of the squash (make sure to remove any stringy bits) with about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese. Add a little more salt and pepper and about 2-3 tbsp of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Next, crack 1 egg into a bowl and scramble. This is the egg wash we will use to brush on the dumpling wrappers. You can find both square and round wonton or dumpling wrappers. Either is fine to use. You can also make smaller ravioli by folding 1 dumpling wrapper in half. I chose to make larger ones because I thought they would look pretty.
Take 1 dumpling wrapper and lightly brush it with egg wash. Next, put about 1 tbsp filling in the middle of the wrapper.
Place another wrapper on top and press closed. The important things are to 1. get all the air out. You don’t want any air bubbles in your ravioli or they will come unglued. 2. Make sure to press the wrappers closed from right around the filling all the way out to the edge. Don’t try to flatten the filling. Leave it plumped up in the center.
This ravioli (left) is almost finished. I still have some little air pockets to get out. Continue this way until all of your raviolis are done. I like to place them in a single layer on parchment paper; you can then stack another piece of parchment, then another layer of raviolis.
I had leftover filling, so I decided to attempt gnocchi. I think these were a little doughy, but hey, it was a first attempt! For the gnocchi, just mix in flour (start with 1/2 cup) with your filling until it forms a dough that you can work with without it being too sticky. Flatten out the dough and cut it into strips. Then cut each strip into about 1 inch pieces.
Next, roll each piece down the back of a fork to form grooves. Add the gnocchi to the tray with your raviolis.
In a pot of boiling water, add the gnocchi a few at a time. When they float to the top, they’re done. This will only take a few minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and allow to rest on a plate. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Next, swirl the water with your spoon and then carefully slide in about 4 raviolis (if you’re making big ones) or 8 little raviolis. Stir again to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom, but be very gentle. When the raviolis start to float to the top, remove them one by one to a lightly greased large pan ( you don’t want to stack them on top of each other). When all of your ravioli are done, you can make a sauce:
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a sauce pan. Add in about 1 1/2 tbsp flour and whisk, allowing to cook. You don’t want this to be thick. You want it to be foamy. If it’s thick, add more butter. Once the flour and butter have cooked a few minutes, add about 2 cups of milk. Sprinkle in about 1/8 tsp nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to start to boil slightly. Whisk in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. This is not supposed to be a thick sauce, so it’s fine if it’s still thin. If you want it a little thicker you can add in a little corn starch. Serve the raviolis and gnocchi on a plate and top with parmesan cream sauce. I don’t have any pictures of the finished product because we ate it all!