Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy....Tofurkey Day?? (recipe #22)

While I generously respect the views of vegetarians, having worked with animals for 11 years, I cannot understand why they feel the need to recreate meat in fake forms. Really, what does this tell us? The truth is - THEY REALLY WANT TO EAT THE MEAT. Otherwise what is the point of the veggie"dog", the Boca "burger", the seitan "chicken nugget"? If you're going veggie, then at the very least, be creative! There are so many incredible vegetarian options in the world without having to resort to imitation meat; other cultures have done it for centuries without missing the fake chicken nugget.
     But, perhaps my biggest nemesis in the fake foods world is the (ugh) Tofurkey. It first 'graced' our Thanksgiving table years ago, when our vegetarian cousin introduced it to the masses as his turkey option. I was immediately, simultaneously disgusted and insulted. Why, oh why, dear cousin, did you not IMPLORE me to create a vegetarian main dish worthy for you on Thanksgiving, this most Holy of Food Holidays????? As I've said before, I am on a  mission to do away with Tofurkey for good. It personally offends me on a visceral level.
     So, last Thanksgiving, I introduced an option to my veggie cousin. It was hearty enough for a main meal, rich enough to be a side to turkey (for the meat eaters in the fam), and contained all those savory fall flavors that ooze Thanksgiving. I was happy that it could stand on its own next to the stuffing, bird, and cranberry sauce, and I am bringing it back this year too. He did love it, as did everyone else. I hope it can please the veg-heads in your family, too. It is a bit more complicated than my other recipes, but comes together very simply with few ingredients (hint: you should invest in an inexpensive hand crank pasta roller...or work on your arm muscles and roll by hand). Enjoy!


Butternut Squash and Sage Ravioli
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 butternut squash, cut in half, seeds removed
1 c. fresh ricotta cheese, drained
                                                                                                                ¼ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
                                                                                                                 ¼ tsp. nutmeg
                                                                                                                ½ tsp. white pepper
                                                                                                               50-60 fresh sage leaves
                                                                                                                2 sticks unsalted butter
In a food processor, combine flour, eggs, 1 tbsp. olive oil and ½ tsp. salt. Pulse to form a dough ball. Remove and knead dough for 5-10 minutes, until it forms a smooth, silky dough. Wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub cut sides of squash with 1 tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt. Place cut side down on baking sheet; roast 45 minutes. Scoop soft flesh into a food processor and process until smooth. Allow to cool in a bowl. Add both cheeses, nutmeg, and pepper, combine thoroughly. Place in a large ziptop bag. Refrigerate.
Have a cup of water handy with a pastry brush. Remove dough from fridge and let sit for 20 minutes. Cut into quarters. Working with one piece at a time, roll on a lightly floured surface to 1/16 inch thickness (alternatively, use a hand crank pasta roller on thinnest setting - you should see your hand through the dough). Use a 1 ½ inch biscuit cutter to make as many pasta rounds as possible. Lay one sage leaf on half of the rounds. Cut a corner off of the bag with the squash filling, and pipe about a teaspoon of filling on top of the sage. Brush around the edges with water, and top with another dough round. Press around filling to remove any air bubbles and seal the ravioli. Place on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and ½ tsp. salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until becoming golden brown and fragrant. Finely slice remaining sage leaves and add to butter. Remove from heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Slide in ravioli in batches and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Drain and add all ravioli to the brown butter, tossing to coat. Serve hot, topped with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

  1. I celebrate Tofurkey day, will never understand why they name faux meats , or fmeats, as my sister has dubbed them. The Tofurkey will make it's annual appearance on my family's table, for the 6th year in a row, in the coming weeks. I find it delicious. I will be attending a potluck celebration with friends that weekend, and will not be bringing one. However, to balance out my disagreement with you about this blog post, I just might bring these yummy raviolis.

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