Thanksgiving Recipe: Squash Ravioli


The fall housecleaning is done. Our houseguests are here. That means it’s time to turn our attention to the Thanksgiving food. Over the next few days, I’ll be reposting a few of my favorite harvest festival recipes.

I know it’s a little early, but I started cooking for Thanksgiving today. We decided, oh, about the time that winter squash came into season that we wanted to serve squash ravioli for one of the vegetable dishes. So today I picked up a couple of small acorn squash and baked them in a tiny bit of water until pliable.

I like squash ravioli in restaurants–for about the first four ravioli. Most places use a filling that’s essentially squash, butter and nutmeg. It gets cloying. I wanted to do something with more complex flavor and texture. Into the food processor went about 3/4 cup chopped pecans. I dug in the pantry a little further. I’d originally thought dried cranberries, but how many cranberry dishes do you want in one meal? Ooh, smoked dried tomatoes. Just a very small handful.

Then it was on to the spice drawer. I wanted rosemary, but I saw the oregano on the way, so I grabbed both. I did my favorite test to determine which spice to use. Sniff the squash. Sniff the oregano. Not bad at all. Sniff the squash. Sniff the rosemary. Also making my mouth water. Repeat. They were both equally appealing after repeated tests, so I went with a very healthy pinch of oregano. One of the turkeys will likely get rosemary and garlic stuffed under the skin pre-grilling.

I ran the processor a bit to break down the tomatoes, then scooped in the squash. It wasn’t quite both of them, because I decided I wanted about 1/5 squash for myself. No fun in cooking only for other people, you know. And I’d just been sniffing the stuff. I ran the processor again to mix it all up, then threw it in the fridge while I made pasta.

It will make about five dozen medium ravioli–once I get more eggs and make more pasta. That’s okay. I can only freeze so many comfortably at one time. Based on the taste test, I achieved my flavor and texture goals. There’s just a bit too much smoke when eating the filling on its own, but that should be perfect when I bake the ravioli in a sherry garlic cream sauce.

Yum. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Update: Thanksgiving came and went and, oh, goodness. I couldn’t have predicted how well the squash ravioli would taste. True, it ended up more squash lasagna after baking, but, oh.

The sauce was a very basic sherry cream sauce. About 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, sweated in 2 tablespoons butter and more salt than I’d have used if I’d remembered to put any in the filling. Add 2 cups sherry, turn up the heat, and breathe through the nose (oh) while it reduces to about 1/3. Add 2 cups stock, then two cups heavy cream. Whisk thoroughly and pour over a 10 x 12 baking dish full of frozen ravioli. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so.