Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Brown Butter Sauce
Agnolotti, ravioli, tortellini….it’s all so good. Stuffed pastas allow you to really show your creativity and personality. In addition to controlling the flavor of the stuffing, you can play with the ratio of pasta to stuffing, and the sauce. Yes, it does take a bit of work, but I think it’s worth it. Especially if you make several servings at once and freeze the extra – then you can take it out whenever you want.
Agnolotti, are really just ravioli that are folded to create the pocket, as opposed to using two pieces of pasta with the stuffing sandwiched between. This recipe for butternut squash agnolotti is great in the fall as the leaves are changing colors, and it starts getting cold outside. A great accompaniment is a brown butter sauce seasoned with sage, and then garnished with some toasted almonds.
Ingredients for Butternut Squash Agnolotti
- Pasta sheets
- Cooked butternut squash – a cup
- Ricotta cheese (although I used goat cheese in the video – you can use any creamy style cheese)
- Parmesan cheese – a quarter to a third cup
- Olive oil – a few tablespoons
- Butter – a stick
- Sage – 5 – 7 leaves
The only complicated part of this recipe is that it requires a few distinct steps that can each be a bit time consuming, but they are not that hard. The most important of which is making the pasta. If you don’t want to make your own pasta there are a couple short cuts.
Option one, is to find a store that sells fresh pasta sheets. Many specialty Italian markets will carry pasta sheets, and they make a good alternative to making your own. Option two, is to buy wonton wrappers at your local grocery store. While wonton wrappers (or skins) are pretty much available anywhere, I think they make a pretty poor substitute. The thickness is usually not right, and the texture is a bit chewier than fresh pasta. But if that’s all you have, you can follow the same process described below.Butternut Squash Stuffing
This stuffing is very simple, and lets the squash shine. Feel free to doctor it up a bit, if you’d like.
- Peel the butternut squash, and dice into cubes about 1 inch on each side; you’ll need about a cup to make about 20 Agnolotti.
- Toss the pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 375 degree over, until very tender
- Add the squash, ricotta cheese (use about ½ the amount cheese as you have squash), add about 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese, and about 2 tablespoons of butter to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- If needed, add a bit of water or olive oil to loosen the mixture enough to get a smooth creamy texture; and put the blended mixture in a bowl
- Roll out the pasta into sheets (I like the thickness setting of 4 or 5 on most standard rollers if you’re rolling it yourself), and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter (don’t have a cookie cutter? Use an upside down glass and a knife to cut out the rounds). I like the rounds to be about 2 – 3 inches in diameter – that size makes them one or maybe two bites each.
- After you have the rounds cut, put about a tablespoon of filling on each piece of pasta. You’re going to fold the round in half and encapsulate the filling in the middle – so it’s important not to put too much filling down. If there’s too much you’ll have a tough time sealing the pasta, but at the same time, you want to make sure there is enough to balance out the pasta. After filling a few you’ll get a sense of how much filling to put into each.
- To seal the pasta, dip your finger into some water and moisten one side of the pasta round. Fold the round in half, keeping the pressure on the outside edges (with little to no pressure on the stuffing itself – otherwise it will squirt out). Then with your fingers, press the pasta edges together, while working around the half moon shape. After you have the initial seal, press hard around the edges to cement them together.
- Dust with flour as you go, to prevent sticking
Since the pasta is only going to take a few minutes to cook, I like to make this sauce before starting the pasta. Once I get it to the right color, I just take if off the heat and cook off the pasta.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat until hot, and add in your butter. About 4 tablespoons for 10 – 15 agnolotti should work
- The butter should immediately start sizzling and foaming up a bit
- As the water evaporates, the butter will start to turn brown; this is just take 2 – 3 minutes, and then turn the heat to low
- Add the sage leaves, which will fry up and get nice and crispy in the butter while they release their flavor
- The butter will slowly get a deeper brown over the next several minutes. Keep the heat low, and if it looks like it’s turning dark brown, take off the heat, as the butter can burn, which doesn’t taste good. If it starts to smell, anything like “bad”, the butter’s likely burned and you should probably start over.
- In a separate pan toast some slivered or shaved almonds, and allow them to cool
Fresh pasta only takes about a minute to cook, and this is no exception. Before you start cooking the pasta make sure you have whatever sauce your using ready to go.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and season with salt
- Drop your agnolotti into the water, and give them a gentle stir to prevent sticking
- Let them cook for about a minute, and turn up the heat on whatever sauce you’re using (I like a brown butter sauce) as you’re going to drop the pasta directly into the hot sauce.
- Remove the agnolotti from the water, and drop them into your sauce, toss to coat, and turn off the heat. Add the parmesan cheese and toss again.
- Season with salt and pepper
Spoon the agnolotti and some of the sauce into a pasta bowl, garnish with the slivered almonds, and enjoy!!!