Butternut Squash Ravioli with Caramelized Onions

I have always enjoyed fall far more than any time of year. Perhaps because it’s the season into which I was born. (Today, in fact, is my birthday! But shhh, let’s not make a big deal about that now. There’s a birthday treat post coming up next, and we can talk all about it then.) It’s a beautiful time in the northeast. The air feels electric. I crave new things.

In the past few years, as I began to focus more on eating seasonally and enjoyed the benefits of a modest-yet-fruitful garden, I discovered another exciting aspect of the season: preservation. I take a bizarre amount of pleasure in tackling mounds of fruits and vegetables — methodically breaking down and repurposing them into something with a much longer shelf life. So when I was house sitting the other week and my mother presented me with a near-10lb butternut squash from her garden, I knew what I as going to spend the next two evenings doing. Half of it turned into two quarts of soup. The other half became a purée with sage and parmesan, which was then divided up between a pizza and these ravioli. All of them went into the freezer (which I then opened about once an hour in order to gaze upon my creations). Giant butternut squash: VANQUISHED!

Now, anyone familiar with this blog/my neurosis might be thinking, “wait…onions? WHAT?” Despite my hatred of the vile things, I do know that butternut squash and caramelized onions are a match made in heaven. And when I decided to make this dish, it was partly inspired by the perogi dish served at a local café. Their perogies are covered in caramelized onions, and so freaking delicious it’s ridiculous. I pick off all the slimy onion bits, but their flavor remains, and it’s so so good. And I’d also like to take this opportunity to send a personal message to a friend who said he’d love to have an Iron Chef–style cook-off against me if the secret ingredient was onions, because he’d kick my @$$: DON’T FOR A SECOND THINK YOU’VE GOT AN ONION THROWDOWN IN THE BAG, WEHMEYER! You might win. But you might not. :)

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Caramelized Onions

yield: approximately 2 1/2 dozen ravioli

  • 1 1/2 cups of butternut squash purée (instructions below)
  • 2 tbsp of sage, minced
  • 1/2 cup of sweet corn (you could leave this out if you want, but I find it adds a nice texture)
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 batch of egg pasta dough
  • 2 large yellow onions, caramelized (instructions below)

To make the butternut squash purée:

Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut a 2–3 lb squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place halves cut side-down in a baking dish. Cover with foil and roast for around 30 minutes, or until squash is soft. Remove and let cool, then scrape out squash meat and purée in a blender or food processor.

To make the filling:

Combine butternut squash purée, sage, corn, cheeses, and spices, and mix together until well combined.

To caramelize the onions:

Slice off the ends of the onions and peel off the skin. Cut in half, then cut into slices approximately 1/4 of an inch thick. Place a large, heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, followed by onions and 1/4 tsp of coarse salt.

Stir onions around, then cover the pan. Repeat every 5–10 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook onions, stirring every 5–10 minutes, until onions are soft and nicely browned. The whole process should take 35–40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, but do not clean the pan!

To make ravioli:

On a floured surface, roll pasta dough out into a large rectangle, until it is thin, but not in danger of tearing (around 1/16 of an inch thick). Cut rectangle in half, then drop tablespoons of filling over the surface of one of the halves, leaving about an inch between.

Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), rub a little bit of water on the surface of the dough between the filling, to ensure a proper seal. Carefully place the second rectangle of dough on top, and press all around to close. Cut ravioli with a knife or pasta wheel. To make sure they’re sealed (and pretty), press all around the edges with a fork.

Note: If you still have some filling and a bit of dough leftover after trimming off the edges, knead the dough back together, and roll out again. Use a biscuit cutter (or any other round sharpish thing) to cut out as many circles as you can. Spoon filling into the center, brush water around the edges, then fold over and seal. (That’s why the little guys in my pictures look like halfmoons, rather than squares.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). In the meantime, remove onions from the pan and add a couple tbsps of butter. Heat over medium heat, then add the ravioli and fry until golden brown on each side, making sure to get all of the delicious caramelized bits left in the pan. Top with caramelized onions, and maybe some freshly-grated parm.

(Any leftover, uncooked ravioli can be frozen in a heavy-duty ziploc bag.)


    • says

      Hehe! It was hard for me to understand that I liked the taste, since seeing onions in my food in any form will usually make me push it away and refuse to look at it again, like a child. :P

      There’s another onion dish I’ve been eying for a while just because it’s so dang beautiful. It’s whole onion slices roasted in a sauce of heavy cream, white wine, and parmesan. It’s supposed to be amazing, but I’m still not sure I could get over the onion texture. Crunchy-slimy, guhh!

  1. says

    This is beautiful! Though I have to admit–I can eat onions on everything…but not so much if they are caramelized. I’m trying to overcome my aversion. Your recipe sounds so good!

    Also: way to go on using up that squash! Butternut squash puree on pizza has been discussed in my house, and I do hope to make it happen.

    • says

      That’s so funny — I hear so many people say, “I don’t like onions all that much, but I LOVE them when they’re caramelized.” Very rarely the other way around! Is it the texture? (They kind of feel like horrible little worms. Picking them up and arranging them over the ravioli definitely grossed me out.)

      I love using tomato alternatives for pizza sauce. I use greek yogurt as a base for a lot of my “white” pizzas, and I’ve been dreaming about making a Mediterranean-style pizza with a roasted red pepper purée. (I also make a killer cheeseburger pizza, and the secret is using a mixture of ketchup and mustard for the sauce. It sounds kind of a gross in theory, but it’s awesome! :D)

    • says

      Thank you, Linda! I had a wonderful (30th!) birthday. :)

      Making ravioli has become kind of an addiction of mine, as has pan-frying them in butter. All that plus using the same pan in which I caramelized the onions made these extra delicious!

  2. says

    Happy birthday! Good for you for trying onions again, even if it did gross you out a bit. I have one other friend who doesn’t like onions (his wife loves it when he goes away – she cooks up onions on everything while he’s gone!), but onions were part of my life growing up. They’re cheap, add bulk to a meal, good for you, and have a unique (and often necessary, in my opinion) flavor. To this day, if I hear the opening music to NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ show, I can smell sautéing onions. As ever, your photos entice me! Lovely recipe – I shall try them, happily, with onions!

    • says

      Thank you, Kati! My boyfriend does the same thing. The last time I was away house sitting, he told me that he immediately went out and picked up a couple of onions, then cooked them up and put them in everything!

      I’ve been gradually forcing myself to understand their important flavor presence in dishes. (This started with puréeing them in soups and such.) I’ve also discovered the magic of butter + onion tomato sauce, which involves simmering tomato and butter with half of an onion, in tact, and then discarding the onion when finished. A big issue for me is still the texture, so I think if I can grow to like the flavor, I might be able to take on the slimy crunchiness next.

      ATC’s theme music does similar things for me! No particular food in particular, but it always makes me hungry. :)

    • says

      Thank you, Sara! Once fall hits, I can’t stop thinking about ravioli. I love making them, and coming up with varieties I haven’t tried before.

  3. Katy says

    Hi there! I stumbled upon your site (thankfully) when looking for a butternut squash recipe for raviolis. I was simply looking for a sauce that didn’t have 1/2lb of butter and cream. I saw your picture and sat here drooling for a good 3 minutes before I even read anything. I’m making this tonight! I to have a very large squash that I have roasted. I just recently received a pasta roller as a wonderful gift, and I’m going to give homemade pasta a try for the first time tonight! Mine may not turn out as beautiful as yours but I can always pull the image up and stare while i’m devouring mine! Thank you!!

  4. Jenn M says

    Making this now! Looks amazing! I’m using wonton wrappers instead of making my own pasta due to time, but next time will try making my own (as I’m sure there WILL be a next time for this recipe!) I input this into myfitnesspal.com and it’s telling me it’s under 300 calories for 8 of these! :-) yummy, healthy dinner- yes, please!

  5. says

    I just ate this for dinner served with sautéed rainbow chard and it was delicious! I had a bit of an assist from my boyfriend who rolled out the pasta with a Nalgene bottle since we don’t have a rolling pin! Thanks for the lovely recipe and pictures!

  6. says

    I am feeling very foolish here, but I’ve read through the recipe quite a few times and can’t seem to find the directions for the filling. Am I missing something? I see the directions for the squash puree, the caramelized onions, the ravioli–but the filling seems to be missing. Maybe it’s just plain squash puree? But then I see other ingredients that would make a great filling. I’m sure it’s me–so my apologies–but where is it? Thanks!!

  7. Jenn says

    Delicious! I didnt end up having time to make the caramelized onions, which saddened me, but these were still good! I had problems rolling out the dough at first so some were thick and jumbo lol. I had lots of extra filling due to a large squash so I am going to get wonton wrappers tomorrow and freeze a lor since baby#2 will be here in less than 2 weeks! Thanks for a yummy healthy meal!

    • says

      Hehehe, I’ve definitely done the same thing with pasta dough before and wound up with some hefty ravioli. :) So glad you enjoyed them, Jenn!

  8. Pam Bulmann says

    This recipe is amazing. When I make them, I make up a huge amount of the ravioli, freeze them on a cookie sheet, then transfer meal size portions to a zip lock freezer bag (or vacuum seal), it makes a quick easy dinner to grab a bag of ravioli and throw into a freshly cooked batch of onions. I like to use Walla Walla sweet onions, they are just like candy. My family loves them!


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