Autumn in Ottawa
Walking through Centretown yesterday it really hit me that autumn is officially here. The cool September air was filled with that classic pumpkin spiced aroma from Starbucks, Boushey’s was selling mini pumpkins and the leaves in Minto Park had not only changed colour, but many of them had already fallen off.
Am I sad to see summer go? Sure, maybe a bit. But I love fall. We are fortunate enough to live in a city that allows us to fully experience all four seasons. From the sweltering 35 degree July afternoons, to those lovely minus 25 wind swept January mornings – Ottawa’s got it all.
One of my favourite parts about fall is the food (big surprise). From Thanksgiving feasts, to hearty soups, to the incredible array of seasonal ingredients, how could you not love it? So when this guy found its way into my kitchen this past week, I had some serious planning to do.
Most people look at this and say “Oh, wouldn’t that look good as part of a harvest centrepiece?” I, on the other hand, start brainstorming ways that I can turn this awkward looking fruit into something spectacularly delicious for my family and friends.
Then it hit me. Butternut squash ravioli with sage browned butter and spiced pecans. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, then there is something wrong with you. Sweet, savoury, spicy.
Butternut Squash RaviolI
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Sage Browned Butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
10-12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
t tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled for garnish
Begin my making your homemade pasta as it will take you the most time. Once your noodles have been rolled, start on the butternut squash filling. Preheat the oven to 425F. Halve the squash and remove the seeds. Drizzle in olive oil, and roast the halves cut side up on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for about 25-30 minutes, or until soft.
Scoop out the flesh into a medium sized bowl and mash with a fork. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with the parmesan cheese.
Lay out your pasta noodles on a counter. Using a teaspoon, scoop some mixture and place blobs on the noodle about 1 inch apart. Only lay out mixture half way down your noodle.
Then take the far end of the pasta noodle and fold it back over the mixture blobs. Using a ravioli press, cut the dough around the filling to make your raviolis. Make sure that the sides of your raviolis are pinched together or else they will fall apart when you cook them.
As you make your raviolis, set them aside on a sheet of parchment paper.
Meanwhile, you can start making your pecans. Start by melting the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, honey and spices, and stir. After about 1 minute add the pecans, and reduce heat to low cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that they don’t burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
When you’re ready to cook your pasta, boil water in a large pot.
While your water boils, begin making the sauce by melting the 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan until it starts to brown slightly. Add the sage leaves and cook for another 4-5 minutes on low.
Strain the ravioli and toss in the sage browned butter. Garnish with spiced pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Serve to your new best friends with a glass of pinot noir.