Monday, May 10, 2010

Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli

This dish is a labor d'amour. The process is time consuming and a bit high maintenance but, I promise the results are gobble em' up good. Each mouthful is an absolute treat and will have your friends and family begging for seconds.

Shopping List:
7 lb. butternut squash
4 generous size garlic cloves
18 whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 Tbl. Tahini (ground sesame seed butter)
1 c. Pasta Sauce
1/4 c. ea. shelled pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds

From the Pantry:
11/2 Tbl. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground ginger
cayenne (optional)

9x13 baking dish
sharp knife
electric hand mixer
medium size mixing bowl
large spoon
1 gal. reclosable plastic bag
food processor

Consideration: As mentioned above, this dish is rather time consuming simply because there are a number of phases involved before getting to the final product. If preparing this dish for a special occasion or gathering, you may want to do a majority of the work before hand, leaving the final baking time for right before the event.

Preparation: Prepare butternut squash according to directions in Butternut Squash Bake making the following modifications: omit the scallions, bake only 1 hour and add ground ginger, adding cayenne to taste if you like a little more heat. After baking, move squash into mixing bowl and add tahini.* With hand mixer on the lowest setting, begin to blend tahini into squash, gradually increasing speed until squash is puréed. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Lay cooked lasagna noodles on flat surface, cut in half and let cool while you prep squash. Spoon squash purée into plastic bag, seal it, and cut off about a 1 inch corner. Squeeze about one heaping tablespoon's worth of squash mixture into center of one half noodle. Fold up the ends to create ravioli and place into 9x13 baking dish. Do this with half your raviolis (18 pieces). Cover raviolis with 1/2 c. pasta sauce and sprinkle the top with chopped mixed nuts. For mixed nut topping, place pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds into food processor and chop. Use only about a fourth of your total nut mixture per layer; this means you will have about half left over for other dishes.* Repeat with second layer of raviolis, sauce, and nuts then cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Please share with me how you make this dish your own. You could add sauteed onions before you purée. You could add red pepper flakes or jalapeno paste if you love a meal that makes you sweat. I love to top my finished raviolis with a dab of vindaloo indian sauce. To each his own! Make your taste buds sing, that's the most important thing, and do it all on a delicious, whole foods, plant-based diet.

Nutrition per serving: Makes 9 servings of 4 raviolis
352 cal, 16.5g fat, 0mg chol, 136.2mg sodium, 909.3 mg potass, 64g carbo (8.6g dietary fiber, 7.3g sugars), 11.44g plant protein, 146mg calcium

*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. Used in many ethnic cuisines, tahini is served in popular Middle Eastern dishes and is very versatile because of it's rich, creamy, nutty flavor. Search for it in the grocery store or explore your local ethnic groceries. You may find this and many other wonderful smells, flavors, and seasonings to incorporate into your ever increasing recipe book.
*Use your remaining nut mixture as a fancy salad topper, surprising pizza topping, or add it to your favorite sandwich. The crunch is a sure crowd pleasure and the taste is always a hit!

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