Lentil & Ricotta Stuffed Butternut Squash Ravioli

Yields:  Approximately 18 individual ravioli (4 servings)

This ravioli has a earthy and delicate flavor, so pairing it with my satsuma cream sauce and serving it atop a bed of sauteed kale makes for a well balanced and divine special meal.

Just a few compliments to throw in the direction of butternut squash, which is technically a fruit.  This succulent squash is full of dietary fibers, low in fat, high in Vitamin B6,  packs a potassium punch, and delivers a high dose of carotenoids (which are useful in preventing heart disease).  This winter squash is also high in anti-oxidants, which means these squash provide anti-inflammatory effects.

Ingredients

Ravioli

1-2 lb butternut squash (Either 2 small squash or 1 big one)
2-4 cups gluten free all purpose flour (I recommend King Arthur's)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Filling

1/2 batch cashew ricotta (without basil)

1/2 cup lentils
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon chili

Directions

(You should already have a batch of Cashew Ricotta ready to go)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon, and brush the meat of the squash with olive oil.  Place meat side down onto a baking sheet and roast in your preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until a fork is easily inserted into the skin of the squash.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool about 15 minutes, and scrape out the meat of the squash.

2.  Either mash with a potato masher until smooth, or place in your food processor and puree.  You want the squash to be super smooth with no lumps whatsoever.  Add in salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

3.  In a bowl, add gluten free all purpose flour into your butternut squash.  I like to get in there with my hands and make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.  The trick with making pasta dough from scratch is ensuring you have just enough flour, without using too much flour.  You want to use the least amount of flour possible.  Your dough should form a nice ball that stays together without crumbling, but also isn’t extremely sticky.

I ended up using about 2 1/3 cups of flour.  Again, start with one cup and then add more slowly in 1/4 to 1/3 cup amounts.

You can test your dough by pinching off about a 3/4 inch ball.  To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Drop your test ravioli bite into the water.  It will hang out at the bottom of the pot for a bit, and eventually bob to the surface.  After it bobs to the surface, allow it to cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Remove it from the water with a slotted spoon.  If it melts or won’t stay together, you’re going to want to use some more flour.  Incorporate more flour into your dough and test again.

Once you know your dough is good to go, you can start to stuff and create your raviolis--but first we have to roll out the dough!

4.  Cut your beautiful ball of dough into 4 equal quarters and roll them each into individual balls.

5.  Make sure your surface is well floured as well as your hands and your rolling pin.  Continue to flour your surface and everything the dough will touch to prevent sticking.  One ball at a time, flatten the dough with your palm, flip the dough (replenishing the flour underneath) and roll out the dough with even, gentle strokes of your rolling pin.  Don't press too hard, and roll it out to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.

6.  Using a large biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut your dough into individual raviolis and place them in a single layer on a floured cookie sheet.  Save scraps to reroll.

7.  Repeat with the remaining 3 balls.  Gather scraps at the end and reform balls to roll out until your dough is all used.

8.  Allow dough to sit for one hour.

9.  While dough is sitting, prepare your lentils.  Bring 1/2 cup of lentils and 1 cup of water to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook about 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse lentils.  Add cumin and chili and press with a potato masher a few times to soften the lentils just a bit.

10.  Scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of ricotta and 1/2 tablespoon of lentils onto one ravioli.  Dip your fingers in room temperature water, and rub water around the edge of the ravioli and around the edge of the ravioli you're going to place on top (where they will touch)--this will help the two sides of the ravioli to bond.  Press with the tines of a fork to seal the edges.

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11.  Now you can freeze the prepped ravioli to finish making at a later date, or go for it now. If you're going to freeze them, just take them out of the freezer about 15 minutes before preparing them to serve.

[To freeze, place prepared ravioli (which should already be on a cookie sheet) in your freezer for about one hour.  You'll know they're good to go when they're hard to the touch.  Once frozen, place in a freezer safe ziploc bag and return to your freezer.]

12.  To make your ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Drop your stuffed raviolis (about 3 at a time) into the water.  They will hang out at the bottom of the pot for a bit, and eventually bob to the surface.  After they bob to the surface, allow them to cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on wax paper to dry.

13.  Serve on a bed of sauteed kale and top with Satsuma Cashew Cream Sauce.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
xox