Sunday, March 7, 2010

Butternut Squash Spinach Ravioli

Just in time for St. Patrick's day, I give you green ravioli!

This turned out really, really well.  My (non-vegan) mom shushed me while she tried it so that she could enjoy it in peace.  The pasta dough is made with silken tofu and puréed spinach, adding some nutritional value and turning it a lovely shade of green.  The filling is a lovely combination of creamy, crunchy, and nutty.  The sauce, though, is la pièce de résistance, a delicious combination of leeks, mushrooms, green apples, and white wine.

This is all made by hand and from scratch, so it takes a bit of time.  You could save time at any point by substituting store-bought pasta dough (good luck finding vegan ravioli dough, though), or by using a pasta roller or ravioli press.  But what fun is that?

Butternut Squash Spinach Ravioli
Adapted from both Lola's Vegan Blog and Savory Seattle

  • 1 small bunch spinach, de-stemmed
  • 4 oz. silken tofu (about a third of a package of Mori-Nu)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped cashews
  • 1 tbsp. dried sage
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 c. Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 green apple, cut into eighths and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the spinach and shake it to get most, but not all, of the water off.  Steam it by cooking, covered, over medium-low heat in a nonstick pan.  Stir occasionally, until all the spinach is very soft.
  3. Lightly purée the cooked spinach in a blender or food processor.  Add the tofu, olive oil, water, and salt, and blend until perfectly smooth and creamy, scraping the sides often.
  4. Sift the flour evenly over a clean countertop.  Pour the tofu-spinach mixture over the flour, and use a rubber spatula to fold it together.  When it's mostly mixed, use your hands to knead a few times until you have a firm, elastic, homogenous dough.  If it's sticky, add a pinch more flour; if it's too stiff, add a few drops of water.  Let the dough rest at room temperature for about an hour, covered with plastic wrap or wax paper.
  5. While the dough is resting, roast the butternut squash.  Cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp, and place the halves cut-side down on a lightly oiled pan.  Roast the squash for 45-50 minutes, until it's very tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  6. While the squash is roasting, chop all the veggies needed for the filling and sauce.
  7. After the squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes, then scrape out the pulp with a spoon and mash it with a fork.  Set it aside until needed.
  8. Heat a little oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions until soft, then add the garlic and cashews and cook a few minutes more.  Add the sage, and cook until fragrant.  Mix in the mashed squash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the filling from the heat, and set it aside.
  9. After the pasta dough has rested, roll it out onto a lightly floured countertop.  You want it to be no more than 1/8" thick.  Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles, about 3-4" diameter, out of the dough.  Pull up the rest of the dough and ball up to roll out again later.  If the dough circles have bunched up, use the rolling pin to flatten them again.
  10. Get a small glass of water.  Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough circle.  Dip your finger in the water and wet the edge of half of the dough circle; then fold the dough over, and press the edges with your fingertip.  You should have a nice scalloped half-moon, with a tight seal.
  11. Roll out the rest of the dough, and repeat until you've used all the dough and all the filling.
  12. Heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan.  Briefly fry each ravioli on both sides to get a bit of texture to the dough.  Set the fried ravioli aside.
  13. Now make the sauce.  In the same pan, melt the Earth Balance and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped leeks, and sauté until just soft.  Add the mushrooms; cook until both the mushrooms and leeks are very tender, about 8 minutes.  Turn up the heat to medium-high.  Add the apple slices and the white wine, and cook for a minute or two, until the alcohol has evaporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Toss the ravioli in the sauce, making sure to top each ravioli in lots of yummy veggies.  Serve immediately, and enjoy!
    Makes about 6 servings.

    This is best served fresh, but it will keep in the fridge and reheat just fine.

    Happy eating.