Sep 13 2009
I’m in denial. Though it certainly still feels like summer, I want to believe that autumn is here. I mean, the leaves are starting to turn, my mums are blooming…it looks like fall.
And then the warmth inside my condo yanks me back into reality. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t still pretend, just a little, that autumn is here. Today I kept up the charade by focusing on a flavor profile associated with autumn: sweet potatoes, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.
Last night I went to bed with a headache; by morning it was threatening to turn into a full-blown migraine. I simply did not have the energy or brain-power to cook, so I went with one of the easiest options in my kitchen: a package of sweet potato ravioli that has been stashed in my freezer for way too long. (The headache still lingers, so if my writing doesn’t make much sense today, there’s a reason for it…) But plunking those ravioli into boiling water and browning a little butter was so easy, even I could handle it today. The combination is so ridiculously delicious that I had to photograph it and share the recipe with you. For those of you who can’t do the pasta thing (like I shouldn’t be doing), try drizzling the spiced brown butter over a baked sweet potato, or even pieces of roasted sweet potato. Butternut squash or pumpkin would be great substitutes.
And for those of you who noticed the second picture included some shaved parmesan…I tried that at first but ultimately decided the cheese fought with the rest of the flavors, and I completely forgot to take another close-up picture. I told you this headache is evil.
Sweet Potato Ravioli with Spiced Brown Butter
9 ounces package of sweet potato ravioli*
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
pinch of salt
toasted hazelnuts, if desired
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts bubbling, stir frequently, scraping the bottom to loosen any brown bits. When the butter smells nutty and looks like it is just shy of starting to burn, remove it from heat. Stir in spices, salt, and brown sugar.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous sprinkle of salt to the water, then a small pour of oil (the oil will help keep foam to a minimum). Add the ravioli and cook for about four minutes, or until the ravioli are all floating at the top. Remove the ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the brown butter. Stir to coat.
If desired, garnish with toasted hazelnuts. (To toast, place hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and heat over medium-high, occasionally giving the pan a gentle shake. When nuts become fragrant, remove from pan to a bowl to cool. This only takes a few minutes, so don’t walk away – they can go from toasted to burned quite quickly.)
*I get my ravioli from a local pasta company that distributes to the grocery stores. You may also be able to find a similar ravioli (fresh or frozen) in your local grocery, or a specialty gourmet shop.