Venison Ravioli With Roasted Butternut Squash Sauce

October 26, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Danielle Prewett
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Now that the weather is turning crisp and cool, I start gravitating towards rich and comforting foods that reflect the season. For me, this ravioli represents everything I love about Fall. Hunting season has begun, and thus the filling is made with a savory venison and sage filling. The silky sauce is made from roasted butternut squash and browned butter that beautifully coats the ravioli.

I admit the recipe is labor-intensive, but it’s well worth the effort. Reserve a Sunday afternoon, uncork a bottle of wine and have fun in the kitchen. It’s a great way to release stress and enjoy a deeply satisfying autumn meal. —Danielle Prewett

What You'll Need
  • For the roasted butternut squash sauce
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • For the ravioli
  • 12 ounces ‘00’ wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 splash vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound ground venison or lean ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 4 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 6 sage leaves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  1. Roast the squash

    Preheat an oven to 375°F. While heating, place a whole butternut squash on a sheet tray lined with foil. Bake the squash for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the outside is golden, and you can feel that it’s gotten soft in the middle. Don’t bother cutting or pricking the squash with a fork before baking it; the insides will steam, and sugars will start to caramelize. When the squash is fully roasted, remove it from the oven and let it cool enough to handle.
  2. Make the pasta dough

    While the squash is roasting, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use your fist to make a well and drop the eggs in. Use a fork to whisk the eggs together gently. Switch to using your hands, and gradually start to fold the sides of the flour in, rotating the bowl as you fold to incorporate everything. Once you have formed a rough ball of dough, transfer it to a clean surface that has been sprinkled with flour, and knead until smooth, 7 to 10 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest while you prepare the ravioli filling, or for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Make the filling

    Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of vegetable oil to the pan and swirl. Once the oil is hot, add the meat in a layer. Resist the urge to immediately flip, and let the bottom of the meat brown to a golden color. After a couple of minutes, flip. Stir in the diced onion and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the onion is soft and the meat is cooked. Let the meat cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Transfer the meat to a large food processor and add the remaining ingredients for the filling. Pulse until you reach a roughly texture paste. You want the consistency to stick together, but you don’t want to over-emulsify it. Transfer the filling to the refrigerator while you roll out the pasta dough.
  4. Make the sauce

    Cut the cooled squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Measure about 1 1/2 cups of the squash puree and add to a blender.

    Add the stick of butter to a saute pan set over medium heat to brown the butter. This should take 6 to 8 minutes. Pour the browned butter directly into the blender with butternut squash. Add the parmesan, salt, and cream. Puree until ultra-smooth. It should have a thick consistency that you will thin out later with pasta water as needed.
  5. Make the ravioli

    Have a pasta roller attached to the edge of your countertop or your mixer. Cut the pasta dough in half, and work with one portion at a time. Keep the other half wrapped in plastic. Flatten the dough into a rectangle that will fit inside the width of the roller. Roll the dough through on the widest setting and catch it with one hand as you roll with the other. Take the dough and fold it inwards into thirds. Roll again, then fold. Continue to roll the pasta through, each time adjusting the rollers to a thinner setting. Roll the dough out until you reach a thin, long sheet. You should be able to see your hand through it.

    Pull the venison filling out of the fridge. Lay the long sheet of pasta across the countertop that has been dusted with flour. Use a ravioli or a biscuit cutter, and cut out as many circles as you can. Depending on the size of your circles, add between 1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. of the venison filling to the center of half of your pasta circles. Take another sheet of pasta and lay it over the top and press down. Then, move to the opposite side and press down with your thumb. Finally, work your way around the sides to push all the air out. Use a fork to crimp the edge to keep it sealed and create ruffled grooves that catch the sauce.

    Repeat this step as many times as needed until you have rolled and stuffed all of the ravioli. If the dough is dry, brush a small amount of water to the dough to help it stick. Keep the finished ravioli on a sheet tray (dusted with flour) until you are ready to cook.
  6. Cook the pasta

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with sea salt. While the water boils, add the sauce to a large saute pan over low heat. Keep warm. Add the ravioli to the water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the saute pan with sauce and ladle in pasta water, little by little, to thin. Shake the pan to make sure the ravioli is coated in sauce.

    Serve immediately with fresh cracked pepper and grated parmesan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan
  • Ebeeating

2 Reviews

Susan January 1, 2021
Made this with ground lamb and it was delicious! The butternut squash sauce is fantastic and I’ll use the recipe for other pasta dishes. Well worth the effort. It looks like the amount of salt for the pasta was left out. I went with one and one half teaspoons.
Ebeeating November 28, 2020
My father-in-law hunts and got some beautiful venison. This recipe definitely did it justice! So delicious savoury and elegant. Great for a family weekend activity. 10/10 would do again.