I have been running through titles for this post.
First up was : I am soooooooo cheap!
#2: This is a Kabocha Squash.
#3: I only cried once while making tonight’s dinner.
I like the ‘I’m a GENIUS!’ because it makes you think I’ve done something brilliant. Which, I did.
I used my pasta roller to roll out my knish dough. I was hand rolling the dough and having a really REALLY tough time with the rolling pin, when I thought to myself, gee, I wish there was another way to roll out this dough. DING went the lightbulb!
Of course, the joy was all negated when I made C taste test two knishes side-by-side: hand rolled dough v. pasta roller.
He preferred hand rolled.
NEXT TOPICS: Kabocha Squash and I’m sooooooo cheap (stick with my ramblings here. It’ll become clear).
a) I’ve been reading a lot about Kabocha Squash lately. It’s all over the place: Bon Appetit, Epicurious, Food.com, Food Network….you get the picture. Kabocha recipes seem to be everywhere right now. It’s a kind of…well, squash. Turns out it’s a Thai squash, sorta like a mix of Acorn and Pumpkin.
I’ve never used one, eaten one, or even seen one until last week, but I figured it was like any other winter squash – you cut it open, scoop out the seeds, and bake it til it’s done (about 45min on 375°).
b) I’m cheap. Really cheap. C mocks my cheapness at every given opportunity, much to my chagrin. Usually my cheapness revolves around food, as that’s what I obsess over. I mean, really, how many people do you know that LOVE going to new grocery stores? I love to explore, compare, see, walk the aisles. I think they’re cool.
b, part 2) Right where I get off the subway in Flushing (the Chinatown of Queens) is an Asian supermarket. If you’ve never been to an Asian supermarket before – they are an ‘experience’. Often the building will rent out space in front of the actual market, a bunch of stalls or small shops selling all manner of things. From tea to dessert, electronics to bedding, once I even got some homemade soup from a nice Korean lady. The one I go to right off the subway and just before the bus home is called JMart. It’s not for the feint of heart. Aisles and aisles of Asian goods like Fermented Soy Beans, 17 kinds of soft tofu, blackened ducks feet – and then there’s the seafood counter. Turtles, frogs, live wiggling things, slices of fishy things over ice, things in shells, things that used to be in shells. It’s a sight to behold – though the smell is…well, strong.
And then I discovered how fresh and amazing the produce is. I *especially* appreciated the PRICES of everything! Eggs, fruit, vegetables – all are less expensive in Flushing! Take, as a prime example, the cost of the Kabocha Squash (it’s all coming together now!). At a more ‘American’ market, one with a really nice produce selection (I’ve been going to Fairway market over in Douglaston since it opened, and when we lived in Manhattan I went to the one on the Upper West Side) the Kabocha ranged from $1.99/lb to $2.99/lb. At Jmart? Try 39¢/lb. That’s what I’m talking about.
Now, the downside to this is I need to plan ahead re: what I’m actually going to buy, as I’ll be *literally* lugging all this stuff home on the bus.
Where was I?
I’m a genius for using the pasta rollers for the knish dough…check. **Did I mention that the knishes are make-ahead appetizers for Thanksgiving?
I’m cheap about most things, but love getting good produce at the Asian grocery stop in between my subway and bus stops…check.
Kabocha squash ravioli – THAT’S it!
So this morning I Googled how to roast the squash (most sites say to cut in slices and lay out on a baking sheet and then drizzle with oil) and made some pasta dough for homemade ravioli (C’s idea). Part of the Birthday Present from my parents was a Ravioli maker. Time to break that puppy oooout!
So after the squash was out and cool enough to taste – we did.
Um…tasted like nothing. I wish it tasted sweet like pumpkin or butternut or, I dunno. It just tasted like…well, roasted squash. *sigh* Since I knew I’d be pureeing it to make the ravioli filling I grabbed some stuff from the pantry – dried sage leaves, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and of course, salt & pepper. Whurrrrrzzzz went the food processor.
Needed something. C said it needed to be blended finer, it needed to be creamier – AH HA! I poured in 2T of milk and 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Voila!
Hours later C looked at me and said, ‘What’s that on your cheek?’
It was Kabocha squash puree from when I licked the bowl. *sheepish grin*
On to the Ravioli portion/tears section of dinner.
So I used my KitchenAid attachment to roll the pasta out to the directed thickness (when I make pasta for dinner I roll it really really thin, this was a very thick dough. Surprised me how thick it needed to be for the rollers to work) and set the dough aside, thoroughly floured so it wouldn’t stick to itself when I came back to it.
*sigh* THAT was stupid. Not the flouring bit. The thinking it wouldn’t stick to itself bit. *grimace*
Once the pasta’s the right thickness there’s this complicated-to-read, easy-to-do-once-you-know-how, way of rolling the ravioli. I say this because after my first attempt at using this tool, I needed to throw away my entire first batch. C took pity on me and was washing out the bits and pieces so I could go Google ‘video ravioli maker how to‘ and not get frustrated – well, more frustrated. He took a whack at the ravioli making and his first batch was mostly salvageable. I swore at the thing (in my head) a LOT and told C I’m going back to my old way of rolling out ravioli – you lay out one piece along your entire kitchen counter, mound filling on top and then lay a 2nd piece of pasta over the first one.
And then something clicked and suddenly the ravioli maker started to make sense.
I started to get the amount of filling in the hopper right. I started to figure out how to stretch the pasta sheets across the entire roller, and I started to be able to catch the pasta as it rolled through the other side.
It started working right!!! It wasn’t perfect but it was WORKING!!
And I only cried once.
And yes, C laughed at me the whole time. And then he poured me a Young’s Chocolate Stout and told me to drink the whole bottle by myself.
I do so love that man.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Ravioli by me.
1 Kabocha Squash, washed and split open – the skin is edible, so make sure it’s really clean. De-seeded and cut into slivers or chunks or whatever you like.
1/4t Red Pepper Flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1/4t Garlic (again, add it until you like the way it tastes)
2T Milk or cream or whatever Dairy/non-Dairy product you have on hand and wanna try
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups Flour
pinch of Salt
3 Eggs (plus more if you have spare yolks or egg whites laying around and need to be used up)
1- Oven at 375°. Lay the squash out on either a Silpat or some Parchment Paper on a baking sheet – I needed 2 because I used slices. Drizzle with olive oil and whack the pans into the oven for 30-40 minutes. When they’re easily pierced with a sharp object (fork, knife, etc), they’re done.
2- Meanwhile, in a food processor, add your 2C of flour and pulse to aerate. Add your pinch of salt. Whurzzz a few times. Add your eggs, one at a time. Whurzzz until it starts to resemble sand. Start adding in water by the tablespoonful until the dough starts to come together. When it becomes a solid ball you take it outta the processor and knead it on a floured counter for a few minutes, until it becomes a smooth ball. Either you wrap it in plastic wrap (I use a ziploc) and leave it on the counter for 10+ minutes, or you throw it in the fridge for a few hours/days. Just let it sit on the counter for 30+ minutes when you’re ready to use it. Room temp pasta dough is much easier to work with.
3- When the squash is cool enough to handle, dump all the pieces in the now-cleaned-out food processor and pulse a few times to start the chopping up action. You may need to pull out a spatula and scrape down the sides (& coax the big chunks to the bottom). I forget how long this took me, but it felt like forever. Add the seasonings (feel free to add more, add different ones, etc.) and process before adding the milk and the parmesan.
**Remember to keep tasting! Yes. You will go through a lot of spoons during this process. That’s ok. That’s what the dishwasher/husbands/young children are for!
4- Transfer the mixture to a container and let it sit in order for the flavors to develop more – for at least 30 minutes…or until you get back from doing your errands.
5- Roll out the Pasta Dough using whatever way you see fit/have available to you. It should be 1/16″ of an inch thick (roller setting 3) and the strips should be of uniform width.
If you’re HAND MAKING the ravioli without a machine do THIS:
6- Layout out a floured strip of pasta on a clean, lightly flour counter. I stress the flouring because it’ll be easier work with in the long run. Besides, it’ll all go in boiling water, so you won’t taste the flour.
7- Layout out bottom strip of dough.
8- Make several mounds of filling along the length of the strip. I like small-medium sized ravioli, but if you like bigger feel free to make your filling mounds as large as you want.
9- Next you’re going to have to use some water to seal the dough layers together. You do this by using either a pastry brush or your finger and lightly drawing a line of water around your filling. You want a damp line, not a puddle.
10- Lay dough strip #2 over dough strip #1, pressing down where you drew your water line. The pressing is what will seal the two layers together.
11- Let the ravioli sit for at least 10 minutes before you try to separate them. I tend to use a pizza cutter when it’s time to separate the pieces.
If you’re using a RAVIOLI MAKER do THIS:
6 to 11- Follow the machine’s instructions. They’ll be better than mine.
Finishing the Pasta
12- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
13- Add however much of the pasta you need to the boiling water (leave the rest out to sit for a bit, then shove into plastic bags and freeze for use later). When the ravioli are done they’ll float. QUICK grab a pan and melt some butter in it! Drop the drained ravioli into the butter-laden pan and toss to coat. Feel free to let the ravioli get all crispy too.
Serve with some freshly shaved parmesan and a nice beer. Perhaps a salad too, if you’re so inclined.