My Recipe Box

Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries

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Yields about 40 ravioli.

My sous chef Michelle Giroux developed this delicious dish as a vegetarian entrée for our menu, but it would also make an elegant Thanksgiving starter. We make our own pasta dough, but wonton wrappers (or "pasta wraps"), found in the grocery produce section, give excellent results and are quick and easy to work with.

For the filling:
  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash or 1/2 cheese pumpkin (2-1/2 lb. total), to yield 2-1/2 cups cooked purée
  • 5 to 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
  • 2 large onions (14 to 16 oz. total), thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more if needed
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth (or a total of 3 cups broth if not using cream)
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage
To assemble the ravioli:
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 80 wonton wrappers ("pasta wraps")
  • 2 eggs mixed with a dash of water
For the garnish:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler into shards
Make the filling

Follow the master method for roasting squash (see photos) using the amounts for the squash, butter, maple syrup, and orange juice above. After peeling the cooked squash, put the flesh and any juices from roasting into a large heavy-based sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes, to further dry out the mixture and intensify the flavor. To smooth out the squash somewhat, break up lumps with a spatula, a potato masher, or the back of a wooden spoon. Put the squash in a bowl and set aside until cool. When cooled, mix in the ricotta and grated Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper. The mixture can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries Recipe
Master method for roasting squash: Ris Lacoste puts seeded (unpeeled) squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet. She rubs the flesh with softened butter, seasons with salt and pepper, drizzles with orange juice and maple syrup, and flips them over.
Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries Recipe
The squash roasts in a 400°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the skin is blistered and browned and the flesh is tender; lift the squash with tongs and poke with a paring knife to check. When cooled, the skin will peel off easily.
Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries Recipe
To evaporate moisture and concentrate flavor, as for a ravioli filling, the roasted squash (and any cooking juices) may be sautéed in a dry pan for a few minutes.
Make the sauce

Sauté the onions in 3 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat until very soft and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the sherry to deglaze, raise the heat to medium high, and cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Add the cream and broth (or all broth, if you prefer) and the chopped sage, and reduce by half or until the sauce is the consistency you like. You'll have 2 to 2-1/2 cups sauce. Season with salt and pepper. If using broth only, whisk in 1 to 2 Tbs. butter at the end to give the sauce a bit of body. (If making the sauce ahead, reserve the butter until reheating. If using cream, reheat the sauce very gently.)

Assemble the ravioli

Lightly dust your work surface with cornmeal, lay out the wonton wrappers (10 to 12 at a time) and brush half of them with egg wash. Place 1 scant Tbs. of the squash filling in the center of each piece of egg-washed pasta and flatten slightly (a pastry bag works well here). Quickly and gently cover each with a second wrapper (without egg wash) and with the tips of your fingers, press tightly around each mound and out towards the edges of the pasta to create a tight seal. (Start pressing around the filling first to avoid creating air pockets). If you like, trim the ravioli with a cookie cutter or knife. (Alternatively, if using homemade pasta sheets, space the filling 3 inches apart on first sheet, cover, seal, and crimp as desired). Arrange the filled ravioli in a single layer on a sheet pan lightly dusted with cornmeal. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Squash Ravioli with Sherried Onion Sauce, Walnuts & Cranberries Recipe
Cook and serve the ravioli

Warm the sauce and have the garnishes ready. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add a touch of olive oil, and drop in 4 to 6 ravioli at a time. When they rise to the surface, boil for 4 minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a strainer (or a cooling rack set over a pan) to drain. Arrange 3 or 4 ravioli on a large plate for an appetizer (6 for a dinner portion), cover lightly with the sauce (about 1 Tbs. per ravioli), and sprinkle with the walnuts, cranberries, and chives. Add a few shards of Parmigiano and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per ravioli; Calories (kcal): 160; Fat (g): fat g 9; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 270; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 35; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Martha Holmberg

If I could give this a higher rating I would! This was so delicious! I have never made raviolis before because I haven't yet ventured into homemade pasta. I loved the idea of using wonton wrappers. I put the filling in a pastry bag and the whole assembly process was very easy. The only mistake I made was not reading the directions thoroughly on how to cook the raviolis, the first batch, I put too many in the boiling water and didn't add oil and they were one massive clump. Luckily it was only the first six, after that I added oil to the water and made them four at a time and they were perfect. The combination of the sauce, the pumpkin (I had pumpkin purée from this Fall in the freezer that I used instead of squash), the cranberries and the nuts (I substituted pecans instead of walnuts) was outstanding! I made this for a dinner party and everyone loved it! Even my husband, who can get a little finicky at times said it was really good. This will definitely be going into my favorites file and made again.

Delicious! It's like Thanksgiving on a plate. I will definitely make this again. It is a little time consuming with the ravioli but it is worth it! I think it would be great for a special dinner. The reviewer who said the sauce needs more flavor is crazy. The sauce was so good, I'd make it without the ravioli for chicken or to add to a plain pasta.

I loved this dish. It was a fabulous first course. We made the pasta for the raviolis. It took a lot longer. When we ran out of pasta, to the store we traveled to get some wrappers. They were a snap. No doubt both will be good. Do this for a special occasion. You won't be disappointed.

This has been an intermittent go-to thanksgiving entree in our vegetarian household for at least a decade. I don't know how the other reviewer can say the sauce doesn't have much flavor-- if anything I'd say you have to be careful not to overwhelm the delicate ravioli with too much sauce. The garnishes add welcome textural contrast and lightness (especially chives and cranberries) , and the sherried onion sauce has a deep, rich flavor that I start to crave when the weather turns cold. However, the one downside is that it is quite rich and heavy-- I tend to alternate my squash ravioli between this sauce and a standard sage-brown butter sauce which is much easier and, ironically, tastes quite a bit lighter. Although it is commonplace now, this was the first recipe i saw recommending potstickers for homemade ravioli; they are not only easier, but so thin and light i might prefer them to regular egg pasta, as they don't overwhelm the filling either texturally or in heft.

I just made the sauce for some fresh squash ravioli I bought. The sauce was good but I wished it had more flavor. The cranberries and roasted walnuts were a nice touch and looked elegant on the plate.

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