Even though I’m totally in love with California, I have to admit I do miss the New England fall. This is my first year in a long time without seeing the beautiful foliage and going apple and pumpkin picking. So I decided to celebrate fall in my new home by throwing a fall dinner party with all of my favorite fall flavors! I apologize in advance for not having pictures of most of these dishes as I was so caught up with cooking, plating, and entertaining that I missed my photo ops. But trust me–everything was a hit!
The Menu (click on the links below for each recipe)
Starter: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage (recipe below)
Entree: Chicken Marsala
Dessert: A true New England favorite– Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes with Homemade Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage (adapted from Todd English)
This is one of my all-time favorite dishes to eat and to make for others! The flavors blend perfectly together to create a warm, sweet, savory, indulgent treat. I had it the first time I went to Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio, one of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. And I’ve ordered it every time I’ve been back. If you have the chance, visit the restaurant and request a table on the patio. The food is sensational and your dinner will be serenaded by the legendary Bellagio water shower EVERY 15 MINUTES–doesn’t get better than that. But if not, here’s the recipe so you can indulge at home!
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 to 6 cups diced peeled organic butternut squash (1 medium-large squash)
- 1/2 cup ground amaretti cookies (you can find these at an Italian deli or a world market, or you can even make your own)
- 1/2 cup almond meal (the original recipe calls for bread crumbs)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the butternut squash. Cook until the squash is just starting to caramelize and is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the water to cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer the squash to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the amaretti, almond meal, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large organic eggs
- 3 large organic egg yolks
- Semolina for sprinkling
- Rolling pin
- Ravioli Stamp
Flour a large cutting board or work surface. Place 2 cups of the flour and the salt on the board and make a wide well in it. Place the eggs and egg yolks in the well. With a fork, follow the perimeter of the well, bringing in small amounts of flour and continuing all the way around, until gradually most of the four is absorbed. If necessary, add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. A pasta machine would be ideal for this process, but since I don’t have one I rolled the dough by hand using a floured rolling pin. Mold the first piece of dough into a flatten disc with your hands and begin rolling until the dough is paper thin. If you have a ravioli stamp, make as many ravioli squares as you can fit, or cut 2″ squares by hand with a paring knife. Collect the remaining dough and roll out in the same way. Repeat with the remaining dough; you should have about 40 to 42 squares. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square. Place another ravioli square on top of the filling and use a fork to seal in the filling, creating a border around each ravioli. Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and sprinkled with semolina. You can make these ahead and freeze for later.
Brown Butter Sage Sauce:
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until it begins to foam and brown, about 4 minutes. Add the sage, salt and pepper. Bring a large pot of water, salted if desired, to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook until they are tender, about 3 minutes. They will begin to float when they are done. Gently saute with the brown butter and Parmesan and serve immediately.