I have never even attempted making homemade ravioli despite it being one of my all-time favorite dishes. Before, my perception of the persnickety process was overwhelming, with me resorting to buying freshly-prepared ravioli from the grocery store when I lived in America and Europe. But that’s impossible to do here, so imagine my joy when I learned that my Zambian assistant, Adelina Banda, was a ravioli expert? It turns out Chris had long ago taught her predecessor, Priscilla Kufekisa, who later taught Adelina.
The flavors in this dish are so mouthwatering that, for me, the end result is well worth the time and effort. The recipe and method below are both Adelina’s; my job was the far simpler task of making the sage-infused brown butter and roasted pine nuts.
Adelina Banda’s Butternut Ravioli with Sage-Infused Brown Butter & Roasted Pine Nuts
Yield: 80 ravioli squares, using between 10-15 per person in a main dish (we froze the rest).
- 1 medium butternut squash, halved and deseeded
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, halved
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pinch fresh nutmeg, grated
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 400 grams/14.5 oz household flour, sieved
- 4 medium-sized eggs, beaten with a fork
Sage-Infused Brown Butter
- 120 grams/4.5 oz unsalted butter
- Large handful fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup pine nuts, dry-roasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 50 grams/1.5 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Heat the oven 180/350 degrees. Coat the halved butternut pieces with the olive oil, garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until very soft.
3. Scoop out the butternut flesh and mash with a wooden spoon, making sure it is smooth. Set aside to cool.
4. Mix the flour and eggs together with a metal spoon in a large mixing bowl.
5. When the dough is no longer sticky to the touch, remove from the mixing bowl onto a board and knead with your hands until well-combined, about 3-5 minutes. Coating your hands with a little flour will help with the kneading.
6. Divide the dough into manageable pieces in order to process through the pasta-making machine. (We divided ours into eight, but it will depend on the ravioli trays you are using.) Cover the remaining dough with a slightly dampened cloth to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
7. Run the dough through the pasta-making machine five times. You will end up with a long sheet of thin dough, which should still be damp so it doesn’t break when preparing the ravioli.
8. Take the dough at one end and pull it over a floured ravioli tray, covering the remainder of the sheet with a slightly damp tea towel.
9. Place a teaspoon of butternut mixture in the center of each square.
10. Remove the damp tea towel and carefully fold the top sheet of dough over the butternut mixture. Using a rolling pin, very gently press the butternut mixture down into the ravioli tray.
11. Carefully remove the excess dough, and transfer the ravioli onto a floured baking tray.
12. Refrigerate, or freeze, until ready to use.
13. Melt the butter over a low-to-medium heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Continue until the butter starts to separate, the milk solids sink and start to turn a nutty brown.
14. Add the chopped sage and roasted pine nuts to the butter, stir briefly, and then add the lemon juice. The butter will sizzle and turn a darker brown. Remove from the heat and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
15. Remove the ravioli from the refrigerator/freezer, and carefully place into a pot of salted boiling water. Cook until soft and opaque, about three minutes.
16. Remove the ravioli from the boiling water using a slotted spoon, ridding them of any excess liquid. Transfer to a warmed plate, heaping them neatly and being careful not to tear the dough. Drench the ravioli with the brown butter, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.