Yesterday, I spent the afternoon cooking. The purpose was tri-fold, 1.) we needed to eat lunch and dinner, 2.) as we continue to move towards a real food, homemade diet I need to learn some new skills (homemade ravioli - never done that before) and 3.) I wanted to prep some meals to pop in the freezer and have on hand for after the baby comes.
Besides what we ate yesterday, I came out of the afternoon with an 3 additional meals worth of ravioli and 2 chicken and black bean enchiladas wrapped and ready to go in the freezer (which will surely cover at least 2 dinners and a few leftover lunches)! That was an afternoon well spent; at 8 months pregnant, as I started getting tired and sore, I thought, “5 meals in the freezer, you will really thank yourself for this later.”
So, onto my Homemade Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Ravioli making extravaganza!
For, now, I will just post my experience and review of this recipe, but I’ve already made some tweaks to the extra I made and put in the freezer, so when we taste that (and if it is worth talking about) I will update this post and post the modified recipe. You can check out the original recipe from the blog 100 Days of Real Food (this is probably the beginning of a fair amount of links to Lisa’s blog – she posts some great real food info and recipes)!
Ravioli Noodles: Once again, I’ve never made any sort of pasta before, so with that handicap in mind, they turned out great! I don’t have a pasta machine, so I prepped the dough in my kitchen aid with a dough hook, let it stand for the recommended 20-30 minutes and then rolled it out by hand. I wasn’t sure how thin to roll the pasta dough and think that I made the first batch a little too thick and maybe didn’t trim close enough to the filling (there was lots of pasta per bite). The flavor was decent and the texture was ok, but I think thinner dough would have improved both.
**On another note, I trimmed off the the excess pasta dough from the stuffed raviolis and then as to not waste it, re-rolled it to make and stuff more ravioli shells. Obviously, this dough was a little overworked and overfloured and therefore seemed to yield the toughest pasta. They were definitely edible and worth using, but next time I will try to be more specific with my filling placement and pasta layering in order avoid as much ”extra” dough as possible.
Squash Prep: I roasted the Butternut squash in the oven at 400 degrees per the instructions. It turned out perfectly, but was a little charred. Simply scrape off the black bits and what it left underneath was perfectly cooked, tender squash ready to easily mash into the other ingredients.
Filling: For some reason we are not huge fans of butternut squash (which is actually why I chose this recipe because we really want to be). I’ve made a couple soups and they turn out fine, they are just nothing special and the flavor doesn’t leave me wanting more. The additional spices and flavors in the butternut squash definitely added some flare, but Andy still wasn’t totally sold on the filling. Well, I still actually had 1/2 of it leftover from my first batch and certainly didn’t want it to go to waste; so, I tweaked the filling with more mascarpone & parmesan cheese, salt/pepper and chopped walnuts. I whipped up another batch of pasta, filled them and popped them in the freezer for later.
Sauce and Serving: For the sauce, I simply melted a little butter and sprinkled it with dried sage. I am sure that fresh sage “simmered” in the melting butter would have lent deeper flavor, but I didn’t have any, so that it that. The meal was a little labor intensive; however, I won’t judge whether or not it is TOO labor intensive until after I’ve done it more than once. Also, produced a fairly good yield and therefore was time invested in multiple meals as opposed to putting in all that work just for one. Served with a simple salad, it was a relativey light but satisfying meal.
All in all, I am looking forward to trying the “tweaked” ravioli filling & will certainly be making homemade whole wheat ravioli again.