Squash Ravioli with Sage-Brown Butter

I started writing this post full of noble intentions: ” Today, i shall convince my beloved readers they NEED a pasta machine! “ That’s before i realized it was pointless because in fact – it’s exactly the other way around! Let me tell you instead why there’s a pasta machine out there who needs YOU.

Large numbers of pasta machines suffer from a lack of love. Some collect dust on the shelves of kitchen equipment stores while others have been stuck in kitchen cabinets for decades. Many have missing limbs, some have rusty joints. Many more aren’t even recognized by their owners who still think it must be some kind of device for ironing socks. All they want really is somebody who holds their hand-le.

And if your approach to pasta so far has been “why bother if it comes in a box”, this Squash Ravioli with Sage-Brown Butter will be a real eye opener. Making it a week-end project will open-up the doors of pasta perception. It’s as liberating as running naked on an egg noodle colored beach. Let me summarize all this goodness for you…

  1. Fresh pasta kicks ass, i just hope it’s not mine
  2. Making pasta is fun, like play-doh..
  3. Making pasta is easy, it’s being a smart-ass that’s hard
  4. Your pasta machine needs a hug, (guys, going any *further* than a hug is not recommended)
  5. Pasta machines can iron your socks too (just not on the fettucine setting)

This is the pasta machine i use and love. They also make attachments for your Kitchenaid. The good ol’ rolling pin is also an option and a good work-out.

This is going to be a long, painful, step by step post but i included lots of pictures so you don’t fall asleep. Are you ready?

First a quick note about the flour: This recipe uses 00 type flour. It is not – like James Bond – a license to kill. Doppio zero is a highly refined flour that is talcum-powder soft and particulary suitable for making pasta. Check at your local Italian grocery store or order it online.

Squash Ravioli with Sage-Brown Butter
(serves 4 to 6)

For the filling:

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3lbs)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
  • salt & black pepper to taste
For the Ravioli pasta:

  • 6 cups “00” flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 5 yolks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water

For finishing the dish:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • a dozen small leaves of sage
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano or Grana Sardo
  • black pepper
  • a few amaretti cookies, crushed (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 375’F. Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and season generously with salt and black pepper. Lay on a baking tray (cut side up) and bake for about 1 1/2 hour, or until very soft.

  • Meanwhile, combine the “00” flour, the salt, the eggs, yolks and olive oil in a Kitchenaid bowl and combine on low speed using the dough hook (this also could be done by hand in a large bowl). Increase the speed until you get a rough dough. This should take 1 or 2 minutes.

  • When the mixture comes together transfer to a floured clean surface and knead the dough, turning the inside-out, until you obtain a dough that’s smooth on the outside, adding flour everytime the dough starts to feel sticky. The whole process should take less than 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

  • When the squash is ready, discard the water that has accumulated in the cavity and scoop out the meat. Place this glorious orange deliciousness in the bowl of a food processor without burning your delicate little fingers. Discard the skins.

  • Add the egg to the squash in the food processor. In a small saucepan cook the butter until it turns golden brown (beurre noisette) and quickly add the sage leaves and the heavy cream, boil for 1 minute and pour the hot mixture on top of the squash and the egg. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator until completely cool.

  • If your squash filling doesn’t look like the picture above, you screwed-up big time along the way. Banging your head against the wall will not help! Common mistakes include throwing the squash, skin, seeds and all in the food processor and/or adding the egg without cracking the shell. May God help you!

  • Time to start on the ravioli. Take the dough out from the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Cut it in 4 equal pieces. With a rolling pin make rectangle with the pieces of dough, so that they fit inside your pasta machine.

  • Start rolling pasta sheets on the thickest setting and cut in half (so it doesn’t get too long). Keep rolling reducing the setting everytime. The number “8” setting on this machines is where i usually stop.

  • You should be able to see your hand through the pasta sheets when you have reached the right thickness. You want it thin but not so thin that it becomes fragile. You’ll get the hang of it eventually. I believe in you. No really, i do!

  • I included this picture just to show you how well i can fold stuff. I know, i’m such a show-off. Well, it also gives you an idea about the thickeness but really, it’s more about showing-off than anything else.

  • Now for the fun part. Make an egg wash by beating an egg with a tablespoon of water. Cut sheets of pasta so they have about the same length and lay them on a floured surface. Place blops of squash filling at regular intervals using a pastry bag or a revolutionary new-age piece of equipment called… err.. a spoon. Using a pastry brush, sweep some egg wash over the edges of the pasta and in-between each ravioli and down the center. Pick up another sheet of pasta and place on top, sealing the gaps between the filling by pressing gently with your fingers.

  • Using a pasta-cutter, pastry cutter or whatever-the-heck-you-want cutter, make pretty shapes. Because pretty is important around here. Make sure each ravioli is sealed by pressing gently around the edges with your fingers. At this point, the ravioli can be frozen to be used at a later time. Make sure not to store them on top of each other, flour them nicely and separate them with layers of wax paper.

  • When ready to serve the dish, bring a big pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop the ravioli in the water without crowding the pot too much. You have to act quickly now because the fresh ravioli doesn’t take more than 2 minutes to cook… scroll down.. quick…quick…

  • Melt the butter in large pan and make a light-colored brown butter. Add the sage and continue cooking for 15 more seconds. Crack some fresh black pepper in the mixture and set aside. Remove the ravioli from the pot with a spider or slotted spoon (they should be floating at the surface at this point) and add to the sage brown-butter along with 3 tablespoons of the pasta water. Coat the sauce evenly over the ravioli. The starchy pasta water will help make the liaison.

  • It’s time to bring-out the Big Dog. The block of Parmegiano-Reggiano or in this case, a Grana Padano. Divide the pasta into individual bowls and liberally grate some cheese over each portion.

  • If you have them, crumble some Amaretti cookies over each pasta for added crunch and complexity, just like it’s done in some parts of Italy. That’s the kind of touch that will earn you the title of ‘kitchen wizard’ among your friends. It’s okay, you’ll thank me later.

  • Boy, i can’t even begin to tell you how good this was. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think. Pfeww.. that was a long-ass post. I need a drink… and some ravioli!

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  • SteamyKitchen

    I’m soooo loving your photos here!!! Am totally making this – my pasta attachment to Kitchenaid is in serious need of some lovin’

  • Uncle Dee


  • taste memory

    long post but well worth it! such an artist u are with pasta dishes

  • Jason

    Excellent looking ravioli. Great job with the pictures.

  • Mochachocolata Rita

    gosh…but i just adopted a pressure cooker which will be the object of my affection this whole winter…pasta machine…maybe some other time eh? hehehe

  • Colloquial Cook

    Oh non, c’est encore plus beau que tu m’avais dit!!! et la dernière photo, parfaite, mais il faut finir son assiette. Combien d’oeufs en tout? I lost count! Ok, mes raviolis à la sauge n’arrivent pas à la cheville (petite et bien faite) des tiens. C’est pas grave, c’est pas grave :-)

  • Manger La Ville

    I enjoy reading your blog so much. I have been using a rolling pin, but the kitchen aid attachment is on my Christmas list. This recipe looks amazing, I can’t wait to make it. Brown butter is sooo good.

  • doggybloggy

    comme di ton…wicked bad ass
    how do you say – wow…call me

  • peter

    Is anything better in fall than squash, sage, and butter? Those look impeccables. I have the same pasta machine. I have squash. Hmmmmm…..

  • Manggy

    Argh, I think I’m about ready to divorce my pasta machine. It completely conks out at the thinnest setting. There’s black grease I can’t get rid of at the ends of the rollers. Yecch! Plus, I tried to give it more than a hug and I ended up at the hospital…
    I’d use my rolling pin if I thought it could get me really thin pasta without it sticking all over the place. Your ravioli, on the other hand, looks exquisite as usual. And with such a classic combination of flavors too :) Thanks for the tip regarding the eggshells.
    Regarding your pictures: surely you are kidding. Photography skill or no, you are definitely one of those who makes consistently beautiful and drool-worthy dishes.

  • Giff

    greedy pig kept it all for yourself!

    i’ve been going back and forth on getting a pasta machine. you are weakening my indecision.

  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Ooh. . .those ravioli look absolutely badass!

  • StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

    Well, my pasta make is in desperate need of a hug, so how can I resist making this fab ravioli! It looks absolutely wonderful! Perfect as a prima piatti for Thanksgiving dinner.

  • The Caked Crusader

    Tell me honestly, is it wrong to get this excited at the thought of sage-brown butter? I’ve come over all unnecessary….

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    Good thing I’m a pasta machine mom! What do you mean, “ironing socks”? I thought you french people didn’t wear socks…
    Anyway, I LOVE the look of these. And I’ve never had amaretti biscuits crumbled over pasta! Not even when I lived in Italy. Do you think they were keeping it a secret from me? Good thing you tell it all!

  • Astrid

    Thank you I loved this post! I was looking for a good butternut squash ravioli recipe, and now I found it.
    I love the Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment, makes homemade pasta possible even on a weeknight.
    In Italy I had homemade ravioli like this with the amaretti crumbs mixed into the filling, same idea.

  • Darius T. Williams


    Ladies and gentlemen – he’s done it again!

    *crowd goes wild*


  • Gloria

    I love ravioles Zen Chef and these are lovely, yummy and amzing!!!!! xxxxxGloria

  • TavoLini

    yum! That looks right up my alley. And you fold pasta superbly! You are the best folder, ever.

  • Big Boys Oven

    my my this is something I love to have, you read my mind!

  • Cynthia

    Gosh those look pillowy soft and fluffy. Thanks for the pasta machine recommendation, I have been thinking of getting one.

  • Becky

    i love ravioli with a brown butter sauce but i’ve never made the dish myself. these step by step photos are so helpful, i think i may have to try it now! thanks!

  • Gina

    Wow! This looks amazing!!

  • Stacey Snacks

    This looks like a project that I will leave to you and Giada.
    See you on Thursday!

  • Heather

    The amaretti are the niceness. My pasta always comes out looking like one of those lead blankets they place on your gonads at the dentist office. :(

  • Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

    There is nothing better than browned butter sage sauce and raviolis. And luckily I have a Butternut squash waiting patiently to be cooked. Yum! can’t wait to make this.

  • Nina Timm

    I fell in love with this recipe….the butternut, pasta, cheese and then the amaretti biscuits.Godd golly I’m salivating!

  • dirtykitchensecrets

    Wow… just beautiful! Looking forward to making this!

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    lol, a very well written, and very zen post. I need a lot more believing in my ravioli abilities, because I’ve made some crapioli in my time. I’m very jealous because this looks awesome and really sounds incredibly delicious.

  • Maryann

    Ohhh mama! Must make this very soon! Pics makin’ me drool.

  • Nicole

    Would you believe it… I made my very first homemade ravioli on Sunday. It was really rather thick though. I DO NOT have a pasta machine!!! That is the problem. And here I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter aching to be cooked. And the sage-brown butter sauce I had at a restaurant in NY in May is still haunting me. I MUST try this. The big question is Kitchenaid attachments or pasta machine??

  • Anali

    That looks so good!!! I don’t have a pasta machine. I wonder how difficult it would be too do it all by hand. I can handle myself kneading dough and making bread, but I’m not the best with a rolling pin.

    I wonder how painful it would be. If the dough isn’t rolled out thin enough will the ravioli be really bad? And the flour. Is there anyway to use regular flour? Sorry for all the questions ZC.

  • Brilynn

    Those look just to die for. I love making my own pasta and this is definitely the next stuff I’m making.

  • Zen Chef

    Thank you all for your nice comments, they’re very much appreciated. Me love you too! :-)

    Nicole, if I had to choose between the pasta machine and the Kitchenaid attachment, I would much rather go for the pasta machine.

    Anali darling, I sent you an email to answer your questions. In short, it’s yes and yes. :-)

  • rose

    I had this at Grotto in Houston last year. It’s gone off the Menu now. But I have the kitchen aid pasta attachment so i may just follow your instructions and try my hand. I love your blog! You inspire me!

  • Zen Chef

    Rose, awww..
    Thanks! :-)

  • Mandi

    I came from Chriso’s blog – you are simply fabulous, great blog, and a sense of humour too!!!! Good combination….and as for the pasta – I think I just died and went to heaven!!!

  • snugs

    I ordered the kitchen aid pasta attachment today all because of you and doggy and these pasta postings of yours..

  • Zen Chef

    Mandi, thank you and welcome aboard. :-)

    Snugs.. you did!? Excellent! You won’t regret i’m sure.

  • Mandi

    The other thing I wanted to say with regard to being impressed – apart from fabulous food, you have taken some sensational shots of the process – that is indeed an accomplishment!!!!

  • Chicopea

    Zen if I could ever master this little children around the world would be able to buy pet dragons at petco.

    Your pics rock. I am diggin the perfect ruffles – like daisies! Perrrty :)

  • miri

    Thanks for a recipe that looks so gorgeous and tasty! I’ve recently received my pasta machine and am looking for yummy recipes. Will try yours soon enough, thanks again!

  • Meghan

    I agree… fresh pasta…especially when making filled pasta.. is sooooo much better and lighter! i have a very similar pasta machine and love making it… although I have a hard time without an assistant when my sheets get really long. I know I need to perfect my pasta rollin skillz…

    This is a wonderful recipe and I think I’m gonna make it this weekend.

    Missed the food blog world…fighting baby growing sickness.. but I’m back! I’m much more “zen” now…

  • Olga

    Those look awesome! I now want a pasta machine…my tiny apartment thanks you :)

    I have made something similar using wonton wrappers, but think my filling was a bit too watery.

  • SarahB

    Love the blog, thank you SOOO much for making sure to mention the “00” flour! I’m sure that’s why it tastes better in Italy! Do you use it for gnocchi? Mine always taste too “floury.”

  • foodhuntress79

    You have instructions better than a cookbook’s. :)

  • Chef E

    Once again…*drool*

  • Tartelette

    I am afrais there is no more room on the counters these days for one more contraption. I guess I’ll just have to come borrow yours!

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    I confess I have had a falling otu with my pasta maker. My attempt at ravioli was a diaster and I’ve had a couple of bad attempts at fettucini too.

    Once upon a time I made some pretty good pastas with that thing. Perhaps I need to try again. Maybe the pasta maker and I should call a truce. I’ve never mixed the dough in the kitchen aid with a dough hook. It seems much more pleasurable than mixing it with a fork.

    Also want to say it was great meeting you today!

  • Kevin

    Such a great classic! I am going to have to try it with the Amaretti cookies next time.