I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I spent my whole weekend cooking. It was wonderful. I knew I had a weekend with little to no plans and had decided to spend it doing two things that I’ve been thinking of trying for some time now. One of those things was to make ravioli. You might wonder why it is I’ve wanted to make ravioli. I’ll explain, and as I do, you’ll begin to understand just how nutty I am sometimes.
Whole Foods has become my personal mecca. It used to be a place I went as a bribe to myself, to reward myself, or just to stroll through and have a good time looking at all the stuff I’ve never even tried before. Since going semi-vegetarian/meat-lite several months back, I have started shopping there more and more. I go there on Saturday mornings after visiting the Farmer’s Market to pick up things that I can’t get at the market. Things like dried black beans, quinoa, and more.
I love to look through their freezer and deli sections. I’ve tried a few things (like the frozen vegetable spring rolls) and admired others (like the vegetable sushi rolls). One thing I keep going back to in the frozen foods section is the ravioli. One of the brands has a butternut squash filling. I’ve found that most intriguing. I first tried butternut squash (a new-to-me food at the time) in Bento #43 as part of a squash and sausage recipe. It was tasty. However, I found while I liked it, I didn’t love it in that dish. I ended up substituting the squash with sweet potato in that dish (mama mia that’s good). (And if you have noticed the amount of parenthetical phrases in this post, I must just shrug my shoulders. It’s a phase. I’ll grow out of it. Maybe.)
Anyhow, back to the frozen ravioli. While I could shell out the $6-$7 for the ravioli, I have refused to do so. And this is where my nuttiness comes in. I’m not necessarily thrifty, just ask my mom. She’ll tell you as she chuckles at me. She would be right. However, I’ve found on this food adventure that there are things I’ll look at and just refuse to pay for. The reason? In the back of my head I’m thinking, “I bet I can make that.”
So I tried. And it worked. And I have LOTS of pictures to share of the process. Since there are so many pictures, I’m breaking this up into the steps of the process. This is to make it easier to read, easier to understand (hopefully), and easier on your computer. Loading up 40/50 pictures in one post isn’t my idea of fun!
Our first step in the process is to roast the vegetables needed for this particular ravioli. Forgot what we’re making after my long-windedness? No problem. We are making butternut squash in a roasted red-pepper ravioli. Tasty right? Go ahead and set your oven to 425F.
I picked up this butternut squash at the Farmer’s Market this weekend for $1.50. To get started, just cut your squash down the middle into two halves. Be careful! Those things are tough to cut sometimes. You don’t want your knife to slip and cut you. Go slow, be careful. Be sure that sucker doesn’t rock too much as you’re cutting.
To deseed the squash, just scoop out the seeds. I like to use my melon-baller for this particular task, but a spoon works well also. Scoop all the seeds out and lay your squash onto a baking pan.
Look at them! All nice and bright and cheerful. They’re ready for their session in the roasting salon. I’ve lined my baking dish with aluminum foil for easy clean-up because I’m lazy like that.
Brush the squash lightly with olive oil. Consider it like suntan lotion (notice I said lotion, not blocker). They are ready for their day in the heat!
No trip is fun without friends though. Throw two red peppers onto the baking sheet to roast as well. Feel free to throw in a third one if you want. These two were a bit on the small side. I wish I would have done so.
These vegetables are going to bake until done. I didn’t time it since I was distracted making pasta dough. Plus, the two vegetables were done at different times.
The red peppers you want to roast until they turn sort of black on the outside. You’ll be able to visually see how the skin of the pepper has separated from its flesh. Set them off to the side on a baking rack to cool for 5 minutes, or until cool to the touch.
The squash should look like this, without the spoon. Slightly brown on the top with a soft, meaty flesh. If a fork can slide all the way through with no resistance until it meets the skin on the other side, you’re golden. Well maybe not you, but the squash is!
To prepare, you want to scoop all the flesh out of these squash and transfer to a bowl. Puree the squash in a food processor with a tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, and tsp of your favorite dried herb.
I personally like this herb mix from McCormick. I don’t know what all is in there but it sure smells good. It makes alot of stuff I’ve cooked taste better as well. It made this puree taste divine!
It looks divine as well. Resist the urge to eat it while you do other things. Roasting that squash brings out all of its sweetness. So good. I put mine on the counter while I dealt with the roasted peppers. Then, it went into my refrigerator while I prepared the pasta dough.
The last part of this step is to clean out your red peppers and skin them. Cut one side of your pepper open and using a knife scrape away the seeds and veiny membrane like stuff along the ridges of the pepper.
Finally, peel away the roasted skin of the pepper from the flesh of the vegetable. Dispose of the skin. Keep the fleshy part. We’re going to need it in the next step!