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Butternut squash ravioli is a variation on the classic Italian ravioli dish, featuring a filling of cream, pureed butternut squash and various herbs and spices. Although most ravioli recipes using butternut squash as a filling will be devoid of meat, some recipes may use ground beef, pork or chicken combined with the pureed squash. Sometimes a butternut squash ravioli dish will use a sauce made from melted cheese, cream and pureed butternut squash, as well as herbs like sage and thyme. Pumpkin is another squash that can be an acceptable substitute for butternut squash, as both are of similar taste and texture.
Basic ravioli is a traditional Italian dish using ravioli pasta filled with cheese, beef and other desired ingredients and topped with a creamy, rich sauce. In butternut squash ravioli, the filling usually consists of cooked and pureed butternut squash, as well as ricotta cheese and heavy whipping cream. Salt and pepper are also added to the filling, and herbs like basil, oregano and thyme are important additions that help enhance the overall flavor. Often, other cheeses like cheddar or mozzarella are often mixed into the filling, along with the thick ricotta, to create a richer ravioli.
It isn't uncommon for a butternut squash ravioli to be meat-free; however, ground chicken, beef, turkey and pork are all popular additions that go well with this ravioli recipe. The meat is mixed into the filling and is stuffed into the center of each ravioli, along with the other desired herbs and spices. The classic ravioli recipe usually consists of a tomato-based sauce that tops the dish, and is sometimes used for ravioli containing butternut squash. More often than not, the most popular sauce used for butternut squash ravioli is creamed-based, containing melted cheese, heavy cream and freshly ground sage.
Instead of placing the meat in the center of the ravioli, sometimes the meat will be contained within the sauce and poured over the pasta while the entire dish bakes in the oven. Often, recipes will call for bread crumbs to top the ravioli, creating a crispy crust on the outside of the pasta. Ground nuts like almonds or pecans can also be placed in the ravioli dish, and will crisp during the cooking process. If butternut squash isn't available in certain areas, some cooks may use pureed pumpkin as it is similar in taste and texture.