Friday, December 10, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce


There’s nothing more comforting than a fluffy chapatti straight from the griddle to the plate. I always enjoyed mine rolled with some ghee and sugar. The one aspect of the chapatti that was always of endless amusement to me was the flour and getting it from the flourmill. Of course, in a household full of Type-A cooks, there was always a redundant, yet lengthy process that had to take place before the food hit the plate and the chapatti was no exception. I remember distinctly, acquiring the wheat for chapatti flour was always a challenge. It had to be the right grain, the right size, the right taste, the right colour; you get the point. Every year, the female collective of the family would gather to discuss the wheat issues with worthy samples each had discovered. After drawing conclusions without any actual experimentation, a grain sample would be chosen. That would be the wheat almost everyone I was related to on my mother’s side would eat for the next year or so. Ordering huge gunny bags of said wheat was followed by systematic distribution. And then those lowest on the totem pole, such as myself, had the privilege of taking it to the flourmill to grind.

One can’t help but be intrigued by a flourmill— it is a nameless, faceless shop where everything in the shop, the shop owner included, is covered in a thick layer of assorted flours. The mill itself is pretty huge with feeders, belts, gears, wheels and everything an impressive machine out of the 1950s looks like. The mill operator makes sure it runs smoothly by banging a medium-sized rock strategically on different parts of the machine. I was always sent to the flourmill with specific instructions for the mill operator. Such as “I’ll grind my grain here only if you promise to run wheat over wheat. Otherwise, I’m taking my business somewhere else.” That’s the kind of power someone blowing 40 Paise / Kg has. Any flour expert who had been to a flourmill knows that you can’t let your wheat follow someone’s rice or millet. That privilege is reserved for the schmucks that don’t know better.

While living in India, I had only seen wheat flour being used for chapatti and occasionally pooris, mostly because I was only at the table to consume them. But now that I have come to cook a lot on my own, I have found the good old chapatti flour to be extremely versatile. Here’s one example.

Ingredients

For Flour:
  • 2 cups Chapati Ata (Durum Wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • Tepid Water to knead the dough
For Filling
  • 1 Butternut Squash, cleaned and cut into cubes
  • 1.5 Tbsp. of Sage
  • 1 tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
For Sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Sage Leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
Method
  • Pasta
  • Make the dough the same way you make the chapatti
  • Knead into dough all the ingredients
  • Cover it with a wet cloth and place aside for an hour
  • Take a golf ball sized portion of the dough and roll it into a thin flat sheet
Filling
  • Roast or pressure cook the butternut squash cubes and allow to cool
  • Heat a pan and add olive oil to it
  • Add pepper, sage, nutmeg and cinnamon to it and stir
  • Once the spices start to bubble add the cooked butternut squash
  • Add salt
  • Mash into a thick paste mixing all ingredients and allow to cool.
To make the Ravioli
  • Take one sheet of rolled out dough and place 1 tsp of squash filling on the dough
  • Place a few more tsp of filling at least 1.5" apart
  • Place another sheet of rolled out dough over this
  • Press around the bump of filling to seal the stuffing completely
  • Cut into individual raviolis
  • Heat a large pan with water and bring it to a boil
  • Add a few raviolis to the water and boil for 4-5 min / batch
Click here to see a video demonstration of filling Ravioli and cooking it

Sauce
  • In a pan melt the butter
  • Add sage, salt and pepper and stir
  • When ingredients start to bubble, remove from heat
Serve
  • Place a 4-6 raviolis on a place
  • Drizzle generous amount of sauce over the ravioli
  • Garnish with fresh sage and orange zest