My knees could actually go weak for – no, not Mom’s spaghetti – but any kind of pasta with a creamy butternut squash sauce. A while back in the days of dinner parties and socialising, my flatmate and I decided to bring a bunch of friends together over a boastful bowl of butternut squash and sausage conchiglioni. Why boastful, you ask? It’s cheesy, it’s rich and it’s ready to soothe your problems away (am I describing my ideal man?).
Anyway, my lazy days of lockdown were over. My mouth wanted more. So I decided to recreate the dish but make it 100 times harder for myself. Because why not? I’ve always wanted to make pasta from scratch and with time on my hands, I may as well tick something off the bucket list.
You’re going to need a few boujee ingredients, but if the the weekend comes and you want something a little luxurious yet humble in character, stick with me. This dish serves four (or more) people – I combine two recipes with a little creative flair…
- For the homemade ravioli (p.s. you can just use shop-bought pasta, I won’t judge):
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- For the butternut squash & sausage base:
- Half a butternut squash, flesh chopped into small cubes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Roughly chopped sage
- 6 good-quality sausages
- Good grating nutmeg, about ¼ of a whole one
- For the white sauce:
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 850ml milk
- 50g parmesan, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
- One ball mozzarella, torn
- Drizzle of truffle oil for that extra boujee drip.
You’re going to want to get cracking on the pasta first – it’s a lengthy process so give yourself time across an afternoon. You’re making a fairly standard dough – flour that surface, crack those eggs into your flour fort, gently break up your eggs with a fork and bring the flour in.
Once the flour is incorporated, you’re going to want to knead the lump into a smooth yellow dough – this takes around five minutes. Once it forms a ball, get it wrapped in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. (If you’re struggling, Gemma Stafford’s video is useful!)
In the meantime, prep the butternut squash, sausage and white sauce. Cook and soften your butternut squash (either in the microwave or over the hob); peel the skin of the sausages and roll them into tiny balls before frying them up with sage leaves; add half the squash to the sausage mix and mash the other half before putting to one side.
Now back to the dough – this is going to have you questioning why you ever started if you don’t have a pasta roller, but roll with the punches (and sore wrists)… You’ll feel accomplished if nothing else. Cut the dough into four and roll, roll, roll until it’s paper thin (almost see-through).
To make the ravioli, you will need a special cutter but these can be bought cheaply off the internet. Put one sheet of ravioli onto a floured work top, add little heaps of sausage and butternut spaced apart. Now cover one sheet of pasta in egg wash, press this down onto the mix and press the pasta cutter around these heaps. Welcome to the world, ravioli!
These little ravioli parcels can be lowered into salted boiling water and left to simmer for about three minutes – they’ll float to the top when they’re ready. Drain and put into a large ovenproof dish.
Now you’re going to make a basic white cheese sauce: melt the butter, add the flour and gradually pour in the milk to make a paste. Add the parmesan and the other half of the butternut squash (mashed), along with some grated nutmeg.
Pour this saucy mixture over the ravioli squares, sprinkle with fresh mozzarella, extra parm and seasoning. Truffle oil takes it to that elite level.
Bang it in the oven (you’ll be slamming things around in frustration by this point) and cook for around 30 minutes. Bring out that golden beauty and admire the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into creating it.
Would I make pasta from scratch again? Probably not without a pasta machine. But it satisfied my lockdown cravings and was warmly welcomed by my family. Some things you’ve just got to give a go – after all, go hard or go (crazy at) home.
Last modified: 10th June 2020