Cheese Ravioli with Butternut Squash Sauce

Most people use their suitcases to transport personal items. When visiting my parents’ homes in New York State in the late summer, I instead use the suitcases to transport vegetables back to Florida. One year I was overweight in one of the suitcases and the counter attendant at the airport told me to look for jeans as the culprit. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I said “ I think it’s the butternut squash” pulling 2 of them from one suitcase and putting them into the other.

  • Serves 4
  • 1 Butternut squash
  • 1 Small sweet onion
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh sage
  • 2 Ounces of pancetta
  • 1 Can low sodium chicken stock
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Grated parmigiano cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 Lb. Frozen cheese ravioli

Peel and cut squash into 1" cubes. Place cubes on a baking pan and drizzle some olive oil , toss squash being sure to evenly coat with oil and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Roast about 20 minutes @ 425-450 degrees, turn the squash every now and then so that the cubes brown evenly and do not stick to the pan.

Meanwhile chop the pancetta into very small pieces. Lightly coat the bottom of a fry pan with enough olive oil to cover and then fry the pancetta on high until brown and crispy to allow the fat to render about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon , add a bit more oil reduce to medium heat and then add the onions to slowly caramelize.

Put water on to boil for the ravioli, but do not salt the water. They will need about 10 minutes to cook once the water has boiled. Stir as necessary to avoid sticking but do not stir too much or they will break apart.

Just as the onions are done caramelizing tear in 2 of the sprigs of sage. Lower the heat to simmer and add the chicken stock. Simmer 5 minutes, add the rendered pancetta, take 2/3 of the roasted squash and mash into the stock and onion mixture. Grind in some fresh pepper, add a shake or 2 of red pepper flakes. Simmer another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and tear in remaining 2 sprigs of sage. Lightly stir in the left over squash carefully to maintain their cube shape.

Drain the ravioli, return the squash sauce to low heat and then slowly fold in the ravioli in small batches to coat and absorb the flavors.

Serve with grated parmigiano and more fresh ground pepper if desired.