We’ve partnered with Wolf to reclaim our kitchen and conquer homemade pasta with a fall-perfect recipe for roasted kabocha squash ravioli with Parmesan and thyme.
Lately, my daughters have shown a new appreciation for food and cooking. Forever now, the difference between an epic homemade meal that took hours of preparation and boxed mac and cheese has seemed not to register for them. It’s all just food that shows up on the table. But the other day, as we planned a dead simple tomato soup and grilled cheese dinner, I mentioned that we should get sourdough too, and they were like, “Sourdough?! Yes!!!” I exhaled a little with gratitude. At long last, they’re starting to understand good food.
To capitalize on their newfound interest in food and what it’s made with, I made some homemade pasta with them. It’s a pretty big jump from liking sourdough to making pasta, but not as big as you’d think. Pasta is probably my daughters’ favorite food (along with nearly every child in existence) and play dough experience is totally relevant here, so I figured they’d be up for it. And I was right.
In the early days of parenthood, I focused on introducing my kids to fresh, wholesome ingredients. Now that they’re older, I’m shifting my focus to cooking with them so they can start defining their own tastes and preferences, and making food that they love. More than that, teaching my kids to cook ensures a lifetime of eating well, even on a budget. I want to teach them to see the kitchen as a place filled with possibility, not one of intimidation.
There’s a lot to learn, and whether you’re a kid or an adult, it’s easy to feel unsure of how to proceed. Conquering that uncertainty and encouraging everybody to head into their kitchen ready to experiment and make something delicious is at the heart of Wolf’s Reclaim the Kitchen initiative. With practice and the right equipment, we can all be smarter cooks. If you’re interested in getting the basics down or upping your game, ReclaimtheKitchen.com has put together a Reclaim the Kitchen Kit with everything you’ll need, from basic tools to essential ingredients to approachable recipes.
Homemade pasta starts with the right equipment. While hand rolling is possible, it’s a LOT of work. I highly recommend a quality hand cranked pasta roller. Once you have that, pasta’s a snap. The hardest part was kneading for a full eight minutes, but the reward is pasta with wonderful texture. The girls helped me crank the tiny mounds of dough through the machine, and press our ravioli into place. The filling here is quite simple – mashed roasted kabocha squash and Parmesan. I topped my ravioli with thyme and lemon butter – just enough richness to bring it all together and highlight the delicate texture of our homemade ravioli.
Making homemade ravioli is simpler than you might think. To start, you’ll need a pasta roller, though a ravioli cutter and ravioli maker also come in handy. Ravioli should be formed just after dough is made, but once shaped, ravioli can be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen for future use. Recipe adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan and Serious Eats.
- 1 small to medium kabocha squash peeled, seeded and quartered
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional 1/2 cup as needed
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon milk or cream
- 6 sprigs thyme plus 2 tablespoon thyme leaves, divided
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teapoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves, for garnish
Start by making the filling. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush quartered squash all over with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch sea salt. Lay squash pieces side down in oven, cover tightly with foil and cook until fork tender, 40 - 50 minutes. Use caution when opening foil – the steam plume can be hot.
- When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from skin and mash with a fork until smooth. Measure 1 2/3 cups mashed squash. Reserve the rest for another use. Use a fork to mix Parmesan into mashed squash. Taste and add sea salt and pepper as needed. Fold in eggs. Set aside while you prepare dough.
To make ravioli dough, on a large lightly floured board or counter, form a flour mound with 3 cups flour and make a deep well in the center. Crack eggs into a bowl, add milk, and tip into flour well. Gently, whisk eggs with a fork. As you go, slowly incorporate more and more flour. Once eggs and flour are fully incorporated, use your hands to fold flour into mixture. Dough should not be sticky at all – continue folding in flour, adding up to 1/2 cup more as needed. Once dough is no longer sticky, clean the work surface with a pastry scraper and knead dough 8 minutes, until it is very smooth to the touch.
Divide into 8 equal pieces. Wrap 6 tightly with plastic and keep at room temperature. Cover 1 of the remaining 2 pieces with a tea towel. Set pasta roller to widest setting. Stretch dough into a 5 x 3-inch rectangle. With widest side parallel to the rollers send the dough through several times. Tighten rollers one notch at a time and repeat. When dough reaches 1/16-inch thick and is roughly a 5 x 13-inch rectangle, lay out on a lightly floured surface and roll the second piece of dough.
- If making ravioli by hand, lay dough rectangle out, dot with about 1 tablespoon filling at 1-inch intervals on 1 side only. Brush edges with water. Fold dough over, press around filling, and then cut with a fluted ravioli cutter or sharp knife.
If using a ravioli maker, lay sheet of dough across metal ravioli mold. Use the plastic mold to press divots for ravioli filling. Add filling. Top with second sheet of dough. Roll over layers with a rolling pin several time until ravioli are sealed. Turn over, and gently release ravioli from mold. Use a ravioli cutter or sharp knife to separate individual ravioli.
- Repeat for remaining dough and filling.
- Before cooking ravioli, make lemon-thyme butter. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add thyme sprigs and sea salt. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, stirring often to dissolve salt. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Before serving, remove thyme sprigs and stir in 1 tablespoon thyme leaves.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a generous splash of olive oil. Cook ravioli 4 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.
Top with a drizzle of lemon-thyme butter and garnish with remaining tablespoon thyme leaves and minced parsley. Serve right away.