Homemade pasta is one of the most irresistible things on this planet- hands down.
And making homemade pasta is one of the most therapeutic activities on this planet. Don’t shoot me but I’d much rather spend an afternoon kneading soft pasta dough and rolling it out to the perfect thickness than at a loud music festival. Is that weird for an 18 year old girl?
So let’s get down to business. Start with the fresh pasta dough because that’s where most of your time is going to be devoted. This was my first time making vegan pasta dough and to be honest with you, it was incredibly soft and flexible despite the lack of proteins from the egg whites. Just for reference, I prepared fresh non-vegan pasta dough 2 days later just to remind myself of the differences. The non-vegan dough still proved to be softer than a Downy feather pillow but it was harder for me to get the non-vegan dough to the same thickness. So the’re essentially in pros and cons. They both make amazing bases for your pasta dishes so go with whichever you like.
The butternut squash is roasted to get the ultimate caramelisation, and if you haven’t tried it yet, get in your kitchen and combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle that all over your butternut squash! After 30 minutes in the oven the squash is fork tender and browned and oozing all kinds of flavour, it’s so lush.
Butternut Squash & Kale Ravioli serves 4 people
For the ravioli:
- 2 cups Italian 00 flour (if you can’t get it then any other kind of flour will work)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup water
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- some extra flour for dusting the work surface
For the filling:
- ½ a medium butternut, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup kale, chopped (may substitute spinach or Swiss chard)
- 2 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp mixed herbs (optional)
- Start by preparing the pasta. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt and toss lightly to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and olive oil. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together before removing to a floured surface and kneading. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticking to your hands/the surface then add a little bit more flour. If the dough is dry and falling apart then add water, 2 tbsp at a time until it holds together.
- Once the dough is smooth and feels elastic, roll it into a bowl and cover tightly with cling wrap and let rest 30 minutes. This will help the dough to become more flexible.
- Whilst the dough is resting, get started on the filling. Add the cubed butternut squash to a large bowl and top with the olive oil, brown sugar and all the spices. Toss to ensure the butternut is covered in the spices. Lay in a single layer on a roasting pan and roast at 200°C for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, cover the chopped kale in the boiling water and let sit submerged for 5 minutes. Drain the kale in a colander and squeeze with your hands to get all the excess water out. Let the kale cool before you start squeezing because it will still be scorching hot from the water. Once drained, the kale will be about the size of a golfball.
- Once the butternut has cooled, add it to a small bowl and mash with a fork until no large lumps remain. Add the kale and mix until evenly distributed. Set aside.
- Once rested, split the pasta dough in half (I find it difficult to roll out all the dough at once, it’s easier if you split it in half but if you’re short on time then go ahead and roll all of it out at the same time). Cover one half in cling wrap, I find that the dough tends to dry out quickly if left exposed too long. Roll one half of the dough out on a floured surface until it is about 3-4 mm thick. If you have a pasta machine then just follow the instructions to get the pasta to this thickness.
- Use a cookie cutter, or a clean glass to cut circles (or squares if you wish) out of the dough. Collect any scraps and form into a ball. Repeat step 6 to roll it to 3mm thick and cut into more ravioli circles. Once you have all your ravioli shapes assembled, allocate half of them to be used for the bottom and the other half for the top.
- Grab about a teaspoon of the butternut kale filling you set aside aside earlier and lay it in the middle of a ravioli circle. Cover it with one of the ravioli circles that was allocated for the top and use a fork (or your hands if you wish) to seal the edges. Brush the top with a little bit of cold water just to help seal them. Repeat this step until you’ve used up all the ravioli circles. Then repeat steps 6-8 for the other half of pasta dough that you set aside. Now you have ravioli!*
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Reduce the heat such that the water is at a gentle rolling boil. Cook the ravioli in the boiling water in batches for 10 minutes, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Stir occasionally to prevent the ravioli from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove from the water and drain on paper towels.
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil along with the garlic, rosemary and mixed herbs until fragrant. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cooked ravioli in batches to the pan and turn the pan gently to coat the ravioli in the mixture. Once warmed (takes less than 2 minutes) remove the ravioli to a pasta bowl and drizzle with the herbed olive oil. Serve and enjoy!
*At this point, the ravioli can be frozen and kept for a later date. Before cooking, defrost fully and follow the remaining steps to produce a perfect batch of ravioli!