When I went to school back in Sweden I was a very fussy eater when it came to school dinners. The food was just so far away from the made from scratch kind of food my mother and grandmothers cooked.
I remember my mother being very concerned, and on a school visit she made sure she had lunch with me. I was so glad that it was ravioli that day – one of my least favourite dishes, so my mother could see why I was so fussy. And she too, struggled to eat it. And from then on she always made sure to send lots of buns, crisp breads and fruit with me to school, just in case I didn’t like the lunch.
Nowadays I don’t think I am considered a fussy eater, but I still don’t eat ‘bad’ food, like those school dinners. They put me off things like lasagne and ravioli for years.
This ravioli however, is as far away as possible from the school version. Instead it is light and fresh with the sweet butternut marrying the earthy nutmeg and sharp lemon. The ricotta I think, add balance to the flavours.
Butternut squash and ricotta ravioli with lemon and nutmeg, serves 4
200 g 00-flour
1/2 butternut squash
plenty of freshly grated nutmeg
approx 125 g ricotta
ca 1 tsp lemon zest
salt, black pepper
50 g salted butter
5 large sage leaves, more to decorate
Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place skinside down on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast until soft, about 40 mins, 180C. Scrape out the soft flesh and place it in a bowl. Mush it up with a spoon or a stick blender. Add nutmeg and seasoning. Leave to cool completely.
Weigh up the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Knead into a dough. If too dry, add a tsp of olive oil, if too sticky add more flour. Shape into a ball and cover with cling. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
Mix the butternut squash mash with roughly the same amount of ricotta. Add the lemon zest, season to taste and if you like, add some more nutmeg.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it out using a pasta machine. Let the dough go through the widest setting three times while folding in between, then once on each setting until as thin as you prefer. I stopped at setting 7.
Place the thin pasta sheets on a floured surface. Place a teaspoonful of the filling on one of the pasta sheets with the same space in between the dollops. Brush the pasta with water all around the fillings. Cover with another pasta sheet, non-floured side down. Start at one end and flatten the pasta sheet on top of the other using your hand to protect the filling and to avoid air bubbles. Either cut into ravioli with a knife or use a ravioli cutter. If any excess dough is left over just roll it out again.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add plenty of salt to it. Add the pasta pieces 8-1o at the time. Remove with a slotted spoon once the pasta pillows have surfaced. This takes about a minute.
In the meantime melt the butter in a pan and add the sage leaves.
To serve, place 6-8 ravioli on each plate. Drizzle with the sage butter, add a sage leaf as decoration and serve with plenty of grated parmesan.