Oct 14 2011
Two years ago, I took Greg to Pottsville, PA for his birthday. If you have any idea where or what Pottsville is there is only one explantion–you are a beer fan and have been to the Yuengling Brewery.
Because there is really no other reason to go to Pottsville, especially for a birthday.
The brewery is fantastic and I’d definitely recommend going there but there is really not much more to this tiny town. Because of the drive we planned an overnight and needed a good place for a birthday dinner. Really, the only good option was the Greystone Restaurant and damn if I didn’t have one of the most memorable meals of my life there, in this little map dot of a town.
On a whim, I tried the seasonal special which was a pumpkin brown sugar ravioli in a butter sauce. I was feeling fall-ish and needed some carbs to soak up all that lager we drank earlier in the day. The memory of that dish that is seared into my brain was not ambiance, the presentation or the wine pairing or the sparkling personality of my dining companion (sorry, hon) but of the absolute perfection with which all these flavors came together and just screamed “IT IS FALL, DAMN IT AND FALL IS TASTY!” A screaming raviolo has a memorable effect on you.
Alas, I’ve not been able to replicate this dish but a few tweaks to an Epicurious recipe has gotten me pretty close and resulted in a really wonderful pasta recipe.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Pecans
Adapted from Epicurious
- a 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 ounces aged goat cheese, crumbed
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 60 won ton wrappers, thawed if frozen
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put squash halves, flesh sides down, an baking sheet and roast in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until flesh is very tender. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a bowl and discard skin. Mash squash with a fork until smooth.While squash is roasting, in a skillet cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes, or until onion is golden brown. Stir in sage and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Cool onion mixture slightly and add to squash. Add goat cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine well.In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, bring 5 quarts salted water to a gentle boil for ravioli.
Put 1 won ton wrapper on a lightly floured surface, keeping remaining wrappers in plastic wrap, and mound 1 tablespoon filling in center. Lightly brush edges of wrapper with water and put a second wrapper over first, pressing down around filling to force out air and seal edges well. If desired, trim excess dough with a round cutter or sharp knife. Transfer ravioli to a dry kitchen towel. Make more ravioli with remaining wrappers and filling in same manner, transferring as formed to towel and turning occasionally to dry slightly. Try to get as much filling in as you can without bursting or ripping the wrapper–there’s a lot of leftover filling if you don’t.
In skillet cook butter over moderate heat 1 minute then add the pecans. Continue cooking just until butter begins to brown, about2- 3 minutes longer, and immediately remove from heat (nuts will continue to cook). Season butter with salt and keep warm, covered.
Cook ravioli in 3 batches in gently boiling water 6 minutes, or until they rise to surface and are tender (do not let water boil vigorously once ravioli have been added). Carefully transfer ravioli as cooked with a slotted spoon to a large shallow baking pan and add enough cooking water to reach 1/2 inch up side of pan. Keep ravioli warm, covered. Transfer ravioli with a slotted spoon ) letting excess cooking liquid drip off) to 6 plates and top with pecan brown-butter sauce. Ravioli are ok reheated but best when eaten fresh.
I think, as the time goes on, that replicating the memory is far more unattainable than replicating the recipe but this is easily one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. It’s sweet, savory, rich, fresh and buttery, all at once. The inside is so creamy and soft, the wonton wrappers are pleasantly chewy and the butter-bathed pecans are so crisp and crunchy.
Is it any wonder a recipe like this sticks with you? Have a Yuengling with this one for me.