Note: the filling works really, really well as a side dish. You can also toss some sweet potato in if you like.
Second note: this takes some time, so either do it in two parts (filling one night, ravioli the next), or make it a group activity.
And now: the food.
3 oz pancetta (or 3 slices bacon)
2 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large butternut squash, peeling and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
1 T sage, minced
2 t thyme, minced
Ravioli (from Bob’s Red Mill Semolina package recipe):
1 1/2 cup semolina flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten (make sure you listen for the safe word!)
2 T water
2 T olive oil
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t salt
5 T butter
20 sage leaves, julienned
Just, y’know, get some. 3 to a person should be good.
Make the filling first; you can do this a day ahead. In fact, you should do it a day ahead, so all the flavors can merge and melt and oh my God give me some of that squash and bacon…
Sorry. Got carried away there. First thing you’ll need to do is lightly cook the pancetta so it gives up its fat. Get yourself an oven-proof skillet (cast iron, if you’ve got it, and, really, you should got it), put the pancetta slices in it, and turn the heat to medium. As the pancetta starts to sizzle, stir the slices around until they’re a little crispy. Take pancetta out of pan, dice it up and set aside.
Caramelize the onions in the pancetta fat, adding 1T oil if needed. Put the heat just a hair above medium and stir away. This flavor is one of the key points, so take your time with the onions. You’ll want them a deep, rich brown and smelling like a pan full of awesome. It takes me about 30 minutes, so your time may vary. If anything starts to look (or smell) like it’s burning, turn the heat down. Remove any onion flakes that are scorched.
When the onions are done, turn the oven onto 425 F. Add the squash and 1 T of oil to the pan, and turn the heat up to medium high. Stir the squash around, making sure it gets coated in oil. When the oven is ready, stir in the garlic and put pan in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, add pancetta, sage and thyme to pan and cook for another 10 minutes. Mash squash with potato masher and set aside to cool.
Roll out the pasta according to your pasta machine’s instructions. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you’re in for a hell of an upper body workout. Roll out sheets to second thinnest thinness. If you’ve got a ravioli attachment, you’re set. If not, cut the pasta sheets into 3-inch squares, put a teaspoon of filling onto a square, dab water along two of the edges, and seal the beasties shut like wontons. Put a napkin on a cookie sheet, dust the napkin with flour, then put the finished products on the napkin. The best result is to put them into boiling water immediately, though you can pop ’em in the fridge, too.
When it’s getting time to eat, put a pot of water on to boil.