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Butternut squash and thyme ravioli
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Home-made fresh pasta is hard to beat, and making it is a lovely project for a winter's afternoon, too
250g peeled and deseeded butternut squash, cut into 2cm chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Small handful thyme sprigs
200g super fine 00 grade pasta flour
2 large eggs
25g parmigiano reggiano, grated
Semolina or plain flour, for dusting
For the brown butter:
50g unsalted butter
15g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
15g parmigiano reggiano, for shaving
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put the squash in a roasting tin, drizzle over the oil, season and toss. Roast for 30 minutes, then toss in the onion, garlic and thyme. Roast for 15-18 minutes, until tender.
2. Meanwhile, put the flour and eggs in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Whizz until it forms a coarse crumb. Take a little of the crumb between your fingertips and work into a dough. It should come together easily and feel firm and a little tacky (if it's stiff and dry, add a little beaten egg or water; if it's soft and sticky, add a little flour). Tip onto a work surface and knead into a dough. Keep kneading for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in parchment and put in a plastic bag. Leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours).
3. Transfer the cooked squash and onion to the small bowl of a food processor; discard the thyme stalks. Squeeze the garlic out of its skins and add to the bowl along with the cheese. (Alternatively, put in a small bowl and use a hand blender.) Whizz to a purée, then set aside to cool.
4. Dust a large tray with semolina or plain flour. Cut the pasta dough in half; cover one half with parchment. Roll out the other half very thinly, either with a rolling pin (it will be easier if you don't flour the work surface) or using a machine, gradually working to the thinnest setting. Once rolled out, you should be able to just see through the pasta. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Use an 8cm cookie cutter to mark 12 circles on one pasta sheet, without cutting through the dough. Put 1 tsp squash purée in the centre of each circle, then brush a little water around the edges. Lift the second sheet of pasta and drape it over the first, carefully smoothing the pasta around the filling and using your fingertips to remove air bubbles, then stick the sheets together. Use the same cutter to cut out the ravioli, then space out on the prepared tray.
5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the ravioli and cook for 3-5 minutes, until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan with the hazelnuts over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the butter browns. Take off the heat, then add the lemon juice; season. Drain the ravioli, then divide between 2 warm pasta bowls. Drizzle over the nutty butter, and sprinkle over the thyme. Shave over the cheese and serve.
This recipe was first published in February 2021.