It was kind of random, but on Saturday afternoon my husband said "want to go to a cheese shop that my friend told me about?" Um, OK. Even funnier was that he didn't know where it was or what it was called, but assured me we'd find it (while driving) if I Googled "Boston cheese shop." At first a place in Southie came up...Southie? Boston's South End is really coming up, but it's still not "our" neighborhood. Then it dawns on me: Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge? Never been there, but Huron Avenue is a lot more our pace.
So we took a very round about detour to get back to this side of Cambridge. And it was worth it. It brought us back to our trip to Paris two years ago. A fromagerie full of the penetrating smell of fancy cheeses. (Not to mention chock full of serious and a tad bit snotty shoppers.)
Oddly, this story is not about cheese, but squash. In this shop, among all that cheese, were a variety of other groceries, including produce. And to my surprise, I found local and fresh acorn squash! I guess it's possible that in some kind of cold cellar a winter squash could survive this long in storage. We happily bought some cheese, some fig cake and my coveted produce. After that, we stopped by our local Whole Foods for dinner and a few groceries, where I found this recipe for Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Squash.
1 1/2 - 2 cups (1 small) winter squash (like butternut or acorn) cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
8-10 fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 package cheese ravioli
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 - 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss squash, onion and 2 chopped sage leaves in oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast 20 to 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender. Towards the end of the squash cooking time, cook ravioli according to package directions.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry remaining sage leaves in one layer for 1 minute. Flip and fry until crisp, about 1 minute more. Remove from skillet to drain. Reduce heat to low, add broth and bring to a simmer. Add drained pasta and squash-onion mixture. Adjust seasoning, garnish with fried sage and sprinkle with cheese.
The Verdict: Very good. The ricotta cheese of the ravioli and the sage-infused squash are wonderfully complimentary.
The original recipe was called "Butternut Squash Ravioli" and I can't think of a more misleading name. It is, I suppose, but the first image that forms in everyone's mind is ravioli stuffed with squash. Someday, when I have time to mess around with my pasta maker again, I'd love to make actual squash ravioli. Instead, this recipe is a little more my speed. It also helps for when you tell people, "I'm making squash ravioli for dinner" not to hear their let down response after explaining that it's squash with ravioli. Nothing deflates your kitchen bravado than someone unenthusiastically saying, "Oh."
But this recipe is great. Roasting squash is delicious on it's own since it brings out an almost nutty taste in it. Add a good quality olive oil, some nearly caramelized onions and fragrant sage--well, you've got yourself something mouth-watering. Add to that mild cheese ravioli, butter and fried sage? Yes, it's as good as you imagined. It's a pretty dish as well (sorry for no picture again) with the off-white pasta, golden squash, and the dark green sage.