Fresh homemade pasta filled with a lightly spiced butternut squash puree. While pasta rollers and ravioli presses are great, this recipe is created without the use of either. All you need is a rolling pin and a little time to transform handmade pasta dough into delicious little pillows of homemade butternut squash ravioli. Read on to learn more about my method, then get ready to enjoy these little bits of pasta perfection.
One of my favorite things about fall is the return of the butternut squash. Its bright orange color and sweet nutty flavor make it a versatile vegetable.
From soups to desserts, the butternut squash (aka butternut pumpkin) is definitely a star in my kitchen every fall. One of my favorite ways to use it is in this homemade butternut squash ravioli.
We start with an easy four ingredient handmade pasta dough then fill it with a lightly spiced butternut squash puree. A few minutes in almost boiling water and you are done. Serve with a simple sage brown butter sauce, or get as creative as you like!
Choosing the Right Flour for Handmade Pasta
Making pasta by hand is a fairly simple process and only requires flour, eggs, and salt. How do I get four ingredients out of a list of only three? The difference is in the flour. For pasta making, my personal preference is to use a blend of both all purpose and semolina flours.
Many people swear by type 00 flour for everything Italian. While it does create an incredibly smooth, silky dough, it’s not something I keep on hand. If you keep type 00 in your pantry, by all means use it. If you don’t, all purpose will still give you better than store bought results.
For the semolina, I like Bob’s Red Mill semolina flour. It has a medium texture, similar to that of a fine cornmeal. Semolina is high in gluten which, when developed, allows the pasta to stretch and not break. If you want to try homemade pasta with all semolina flour, make sure you find one that is extra finely ground or your pasta will end up too chewy.
Don’t have semolina? Don’t worry! You can totally do this with just all purpose flour. The texture will be slightly softer, but ignorance is bliss. You probably won’t recognize the difference until you’ve tried it with the semolina. Combining the two together, gives you the best of both worlds: tender pasta with a little bit of chew. However you make your homemade pasta, it will be better than store bought.
Making Handmade Pasta with Video
This dough is made by hand using age old techniques taught to me by an Italian mama while I was visiting Tuscany in 2007. So while I may not be Italian, this recipe has its roots there.
Start with a mound of blended flours, hollow it out, add the eggs and water in the middle, and start whisking with a fork. Use your spare hand to keep the walls of the flour mound in place as you incorporate more flour. Once the dough mass starts to take on a shaggy texture, ditch the fork and work the remaining flour in by hand. Your dough may or may not take in all the flour. Once it seems like it doesn’t want to absorb anymore, it’s done.
Check out the video below to see just how easy it is to make homemade pasta by hand.
Wrapping and Resting the Pasta Dough
Once you have your pasta dough made, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for a minimum of thirty minutes. I hate unnecessary single use plastic but this step is VERY IMPORTANT! (If you have a better solution, please share!) The gluten needs time to activate in a humid environment before you start rolling out the dough. During this rest phase your dough will transform, becoming more yellow in color and smoother to the touch.
Give it at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours. If you are going to more than thirty minutes, put it in the fridge to start and let it rest on the counter for the last 30 minutes. You can also freeze the dough for later. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 90 minutes to rest and let the gluten develop before rolling out.
Rolling Out Pasta Dough with A Rolling Pin
Since we are not using pasta rollers for this dough, there are a few things to be aware of before you start. First, you must liberally flour your work surface. Don’t be afraid of the flour, be more afraid of the pasta sticking to your work surface.
Since these raviolis are a bit rustic, the shape of our pasta sheets don’t have to be exact, but you are aiming to get the thickness as even as possible. With your rolling pin, roll your dough into a large rough rectangle or oval. Since we are going to be cutting circles, the edges do not need to be perfectly straight.
Roll the sheet as flat as you can without breaking it, adding more flour to the top and bottom as necessary so that it doesn’t stick. The dough should be thin, pliable, and translucent. Meaning you can see light through it, but not be able to make out shapes.
If you are running out of counter space, cut your sheet in half. The half you aren’t working with should be dusted with flour, carefully folded over, and covered with a clean kitchen towel to rest. When the dough is as thin as you can get it, it’s time to cut.
Hand Cutting Ravioli Rounds
Despite what you may have heard, ravioli doesn’t require any special equipment. Yes, you could use a ravioli mold, ravioli cutter, ravioli stamp, etc, etc, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you have them, by all means use them. If you don’t there are plenty of kitchen cheats available to make it work.
Per the photo above, I cut my ravioli using a drinking glass with a three inch wide opening. A cookie or pastry cutter would also work. I’ve found that the round shape brings just the right amount of rustic appeal to this pasta, while also creating less waste since a hand rolled pasta sheet will never be perfectly square. Specifically, these crescent moons of deliciousness are called mezzaluna, but they are still technically ravioli by definition.
I am usually able to cut 36 – 40 ravioli rounds from my pasta sheet.
Filling and Sealing Handmade Ravioli
Once cut, measure out 2 teaspoons of filling and pile it into the center of each three inch round. If your circles are smaller or larger adjust the filling accordingly. Next, seal the ravioli edges shut with water so that they don’t fall apart while cooking.
Use your fingers to dampen the bottom half of your ravioli circle. With dry fingers, grab the top center of the ravioli circle and gently pull it down around the filing. Tap it together to seal the top center to the bottom center. Working from this center point, push out any air bubbles and seal the edges together to create a seam.
Repeat with each ravioli until you have a bunch of little half-moon shapes laying on your work surface.
Cooking and Storing Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli
Once assembled, your ravioli are ready to cook. Note that ravioli should cook at a simmer, not a boil. Start with boiling water, but drop the heat to medium after you drop in the ravioli. Fresh ravioli should cook at a simmer about 5 – 7 minutes.
If you aren’t going to cook them today, it’s best to freeze them. Ravioli frozen in a clump will never cook right. Instead, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay the ravioli in a single layer, close, but not touching. Freeze 4 – 6 hours or until firm, then place them in a reusable freezer safe container. When ready to cook, remove however many raviolis you need and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes
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Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli Recipe
Tender, handcrafted raviolis filled with a lightly spiced butternut squash filling and served with a sage brown butter sauce. This is a taste of fall that you’ll want to come back to all year round.
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- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 dash salt
- 3 cups butternut squash cubed, 15 oz
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 2 Tablespoons milk
Sage Brown Butter Sauce per serving of 5 raviolis:
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 3 leaves sage
- Measure both flours into a bowl, mix to combine.
- Pour flour in a mound on a clean dry countertop. Hollow out the middle of the mound to form a bowl large enough to hold 1/2 cup of liquid.
- Crack both eggs into the flour bowl, being careful not to break the walls.
- Sprinkle with a dash of salt.
- Use a fork to break the yolks and scramble the eggs.
- Continue to mix the eggs, gradually incorporating the flour from the walls into the eggs.
- When the flour is mostly absorbed, knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 6 hours. If resting longer, place in the fridge and pull it out for the final 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, make your filling.
Butternut Squash Filling
- Boil the cubed squash until it is fork tender, about 12 - 15 minutes.
- Mash the squash, then add the salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and milk.
Rolling, Cutting, Assembling the Ravioli
- Liberally flour a clean work surface. Using a rolling pin*, roll out your dough. Add more flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. The dough should be very thin, around 1/16th of an inch.
- Using a glass or cookie cutter that is about 3" across, cut out your ravioli circles.
- Place just under 2 teaspoons of filling in the middle of each circle.
- Dip you fingers into a clean bowl of water and moisten the edge around the bottom half of your ravioli.
- Dry your fingers, grab the top center of the ravioli and gently fold it down to the bottom,. Working from the center point outwards, seal in the filling.
- Place the completed raviolis on a floured surface while you finish the others.
- Boil a pot of water. Carefully add the ravioli one at a time, then reduce the heat to medium.
- Simmer the ravioli over medium, 5 - 7 minutes for fresh, and 8 - 10 minutes for frozen. The ravioli are done when the float to the surface.
- Use a pasta fork, slotted spoon, or tongs to gently remove the raviolis. Dumping them into a colander can cause them to break.
Sage Brownbutter Sauce
- Note: The amount of butter and sage listed is per 5 ravioli serving. Adjust based on the number of ravioli you are making.
- Tear or chop the sage leaves.
- In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium high heat, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally. Once the butter begins to foam, add the sage.
- When the foaming subsides, the butter will begin to darken and smell nutty. Remove it from the heat.
- Plate 5 ravioli and drizzle with the sage brown butter sauce.
*If you would like to use a pasta roller, roll it to the thinnest or second thinnest setting.
You can reuse the remaining dough, by reworking it with a little water and re-rolling it out if you choose.
To freeze ravioli: place in a single row on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze 4 - 6 hours or until firm. Transfer to a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 5 ravioli
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 198mg Carbohydrates: 23g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 5g