05 January 2014

Sweet Potato & Mascarpone Ravioli with Browned Butter & Fried Sage

Is it me or does winter seem extra cold this year?  I mean, how many days of negative wind chills are really necessary?  Isn't there a quota out there that once met means winter is over?  Apparently not, because the cold just keeps on coming.  Our electric company even sent out a notice forewarning of higher than average bills for the coming month due to the lower than average temperatures we've been suffering seeing.  But it's OK because the hubs and I have been making the most of it.  Fires every night with a glass of red wine and plenty of warm, delicious dinners make every chilly day much more comfortable.  But even if you're not going through a deep freeze, you'll love these homemade Sweet Potato & Mascarpone Ravioli.

It's been a while since I've shared a ravioli recipe here on the site, and even longer since I've played around with my pasta roller.  It was uncovered a week or so ago, sadly neglected and slightly dusty in the back of the bathroom sink cabinet (tiny kitchen = interesting storage solutions).  It pains me to let any utensil go unused for such a long time, so I sought to immediately remedy the situation with homemade ravioli.  And a few tasty leftovers were just begging to be united and folded into pasta.

The hubs and I were a disgrace to our heritage this year for Christmas dessert.  Rather than Canadian butter tarts or Swedish fattigmann, we made a delicious tiramisu for dessert with Kentucky bourbon (at least we did Giada De Laurentiis and William Faulkner proud).  The dessert was fantastic, leaving us with a bit of extra mascarpone for our foodie pleasure.  This delicious, creamy Italian cheese is absolutely divine with fruit, in coffee or stirred into risotto.  But I had other intentions for our mascarpone involving another leftover...mashed sweet potatoes.  (My love for this spud has be recorded her at great length, so we'll move right along.....)

A little chopped sage, salt and pepper with these two ingredients was absolute perfection.  Sweet, hearty and incredibly creamy, the hubs and I had to fight the urge to eat the filling with a spoon before it made it onto our homemade whole wheat pasta.

If you've never made pasta at home before, I highly recommend you give it a try!  It is far easier to make than one might imagine, can be made in large batches and frozen for use in the future.  We have a handy little gadget that seals and cuts the pasta, making perfect ravioli every time.  They take a bit of time to roll, fill and seal, but are a really fun activity to do with a loved one on a blistering cold afternoon (*a-hem*...here!)

The end result was absolutely fabulous.  The freshly cooked pasta was garnished with browned butter, chopped hazelnuts and fried sage...also known as everything delicious in life.  The crunch of the hazelnuts and extra pop of crisp sage complimented the incredibly creamy texture of the ravioli perfectly, with the nuttiness of the browned butter echoing the nuts and sweet potato.  

Ugh.  Just look at that creamy filling.  I DIE.

This dish was great served with a red blend from Washington (a taste of home!) as it brought out the savory and earthy elements of the pasta.  A few quick sides of grilled chicken and garlic green beans rounded out the plate for a perfect cold weather meal.  I have a sneaking suspicion the pasta roller will get far more use in the coming weeks....

Sweet Potato & Mascarpone Ravioli w/ Browned Butter & Fried Sage (3 servings, or about 16 ravioli)
  • 1 serving Easy Whole Wheat Pasta (store bought won-ton wrappers work as well)
  • 2/3 c mashed sweet potato
  • 1/3 c marscapone cheese
  • 12-14 sage leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tbs vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 c toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Start by making your pasta.  While it is resting, make the filling for the ravioli.  Combine the sweet potato and mascarpone in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Chop one tablespoon of the sage and add to the bowl, reserving the remaining leaves for frying later.  Season the filling with the salt and pepper, then stir together until very smooth.  Set the dish aside.

Roll out the pasta to desired thickness and place on a cutting board.  Scoop the filling onto a sheet of pasta in level tablespoons, leaving an inch between each scoop.  Fold the pasta sheet over the filling and press lightly with your hands.  Cut and seal the ravioli with a pasta cutter, or cut with a knife and seal with your hands (you can use a bit of water to help the pasta seal if needed).  Transfer the ravioli to a plate.  Combine the leftover pasta trimmings and re-roll to make more ravioli (Swede writing here...I apologize for offending any Italians).  Continue rolling until the filling has been used.  

Place a large pan of salted water over high heat to bring to a boil. 

Cut the butter into a small metal-bottom saucepan or frying pan and set over medium heat.  Cook, whisking constantly, while the butter froths up and then reduces back to a liquid.  Continue cooking and whisking until brown flecks begin to appear in the butter and it turns golden in color.  Remove from the heat and continue whisking for a minute to help cool, then transfer to a ramekin or small dish to finish cooling. 

To fry the sage leaves, place the tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan over medium-high to high heat.  Add the sage leaves individually and cook for 2-3 seconds, until bright green.  Remove to a paper towel to drain a season with salt.  Repeat with remaining leaves.  

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 4-6 minutes, until pasta is cooked to your preference (ravioli will float, but continue to cook until pasta is done).  Gently pour into a strainer and let drain for a minute.  Transfer to a plate and drizzle with the browned butter, then garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and fried sage.  Serve immediately with lots of pride.  

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