Notes from Windward: #71


Winter Ravioli

Sarah prepares a home-made treat

     The quiet of winter at Windward offers a great chance to visit friends and family in faraway places. I went to North Carolina to visit my family in December; Lindsay will visit hers this month, and Andrew will make the pilgrimage in February.

filling ravioli

     While I was in Charlotte, my aunt shared some new pasta-making skills she acquired at a cooking course in the Puglia region of Italy. She taught me and Jon (my brother, Windward intern this past summer) the intricacies of making these little ear-shaped pastas (orecchiette) by hand, and we prepared a grand meal for the whole family.

raw ravioli

     Upon my return to Windward, I wanted to try making ravioli with our home-ground whole wheat flour and, after blending the traditional Italian recipes from my aunt's cooking class with my own ideas, this was the result‒a tasty winter ravioli filled with butternut squash, spinach, onion, and walnuts, and sauteed in a dressing of olive oil, sage, cinnamon, and cloves. Delicioso!

My recipe:

     (I recommend making the filling the night before, as the whole process is a lot of work, start-to-finish.)

For the filling:

  • 1 medium and 1 small butternut squash, pre-roasted in the oven

  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • large handful of walnuts, finely chopped

  • cloves and cinnamon to taste

     (I had lots of extra filling, which is yummy to eat on its own.)

spiced cooking oil

     Saute the onion, garlic, walnuts, cloves and cinnamon in olive oil until onions are tender. Then add squash and spinach. Heat and stir until well-mixed. Flavors meld well if you let it sit over night.

For the pasta dough:

  • 4 cups hard red winter wheat flour, home-ground

  • 6 eggs (recommended by the Italians to help the raviolis stick together)

  • a dash of salt

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

  • splashes of water as needed, to help the dough mix

     (Makes ravioli for four people plus generous leftovers.)

fried and ready to eat

  1. Mix dough ingredients together and divide dough into two chunks. Knead each chunk until dough is soft and smooth. If you have never kneaded pasta dough before, do it longer than you think you should.

  2. Roll out with a rolling pin as thin as you can (will not be as thin as commercial pasta), or use a pasta roller if you have one.

  3. Cut into long strips about 1.5 inches wide.

  4. Place a small dollop of filling about every 3-4 inches down the length of the strip.

  5. Cut the strips into 3-4 segments, each segment containing one dollop of filling.

  6. Fold over and press edges closed from both sides with a fork.

  7. Cook in boiling water for 6-8 minutes (or less if your pasta is thinner).

  8. While pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and toast some dried sage, cloves, and cinnamon in the oil (I used these because we were out of nutmeg, which the Italian recipe called for).

  9. Saute cooked ravioli in the spiced olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from pan and serve on large platter.

Jon and I making pasta
in Charlotte, NC

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 71