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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
sat fat g
Photo: Martha Holmberg