Monday, November 26, 2012
For me the worst part is that my photos of food suffer. I mostly use natural daylight for my shots and so that means middle of the day photos. When I'm trying to get a good photo of breakfast or dinner food I turn on all the lights I can, but everything takes on a golden tone. Sometimes that is pretty, sometimes not.
Tonight I cooked a lucious dish for dinner. It closely resembled one I had for lunch at a Santa Rosa restaurant a week before. The photo makes it look more orange than it really was, but those round butternut squash ravioli were a bit orange to begin with. You can't see it, but underneath there is a bed of fresh baby spinach. On top of that there is a warm mixture of fresh white corn, cut off the cob, mixed with diced red and yellow bell pepper and just a hint of finely chopped red onion. Next come the just cooked ravioli and a sprinkle of cubed fresh butternut squash which had been roasted until very soft and tender inside and a bit crusty on the outside. A drizzle of melted butter to which a lot of fresh, minced, sage was added and you have the dish. It was a wonder of contrasts...crisp chilled spinach, warm, soft, buttery ravioli, crunch but warm corn, zesty red bell pepper, zingy red onion, very herby sage. Sweetie loved it and ate every last bit. I served it with some sliced heirloom tomatoes and corn muffins. It was almost comfort food and seemed very much a harvest meal.Totally delicious!
The key for this dish is planning. The squash needs to be roasted first. The spinach has to be washed and dried and put in the fridge to crisp up. It doesn't take lond to cut the corn from the cob or dice the peppers or chop the onion and sage, but those are good things to do while the water comes to a boil for the ravioli. While they cook you can melt the butter and add the sage, slice and arrange and dress the tomato slices and heat the corn mixture. Just before the pasta is done is the best time to layer the spinach in the bowls. While the cooked pasta drains you can add the warm corn mixture on top of the spinach, then the pasta, the roasted squash and the butter drizzle. It's a good idea to serve it right away while the pasta is still warm and the spinach hasn't wilted from the warm elements in the dish.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Warm Corn Salad, Spinach, Butternut Squash and Sage Butter
2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash, seeds and stringy parts removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 cups fresh baby spinach
2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/4 medium yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 5-oz. package fresh butternut squash and cheese ravioli, uncooked
Toss the butternut squash cubes in a plastic bag with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Stir and roast another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm.
Wash and drain and dry the baby spinach. Wrap in a tea towel and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Using a sharp knife, cut the corn from the cobs. Dice the red and yellow peppers into 1/4 inch dice. In a microwave safe bowl combine the corn kernels, all the peppers, the red onion. Set aside.
Heat 4 quarts water in a large pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. About 10 minutes before you plan to serve the dish, slide the ravioli into the water and stir. Continue to stir and/or turn the ravioli over as the pasta cooks, with the heat on medium-high, for 5-6 minutes or until pasta is tender.
While pasta cooks, mix the melted butter and fresh sage and keep warm.
Heat the corn mixture in the microwave on HALF power for 2-3 minutes, until just barely warm.
In a large bowl, like a soup bowl, layer the fresh spinach, topped by the corn mixture. Gently remove the pasta from the simmering water when it is cooked and drain in a collander. When drained, place about 5 ravioli for each serving on top of the corn mixture in the bowl. Scatter the warm squash cubes over and drizzle with the sage butter. Serve at once. Serves 2.