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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Pecans

Squash-filled ravioli is an autumn specialty in Italy. If you have a pasta machine, it will make rolling the dough faster and easier.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 butternut squash, 2 to 2 1/2 lb., halved lengthwise and seeds discarded
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

For the pasta dough:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •  
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. fresh sage leaves for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

To make the filling, rub the cut sides of the squash with the olive oil and place, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool, then scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in the egg, cheese, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Set aside. (The filling can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, whisk together the eggs and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add 2 cups of the flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until most has been added and the dough forms a ball on the beater. Pinch the dough; it should feel moist but not sticky and be fairly smooth. If not, beat in more flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until firm, smooth and moist but not sticky, about 1 minute. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half. On a large, floured surface, roll out half the dough into a 16-by-20-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife, lightly mark the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Place 1 tsp. filling in the center of each square. Roll out the remaining dough into a same-sized rectangle and lay it over the filling. Lightly press down on the mounds of filling, then press around each filling to seal. Using a pastry wheel or knife, cut along the length on both sides and across the top and bottom to make 1 1/2-inch squares. Crimp the edges to seal. (The ravioli can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Place in a single layer on a floured kitchen towel, dust the tops with flour and cover with another towel.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add the salt. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to slide the ravioli into the water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the spoon, transfer to a warmed platter.

Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool for about 30 seconds, then stir in the lemon juice and pour the brown butter mixture over the ravioli. Garnish with the sage and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties, by Georgeanne Brennan (Free Press, 2006).