My golden boy of the moment is the quirky and flamboyant Mario Batali. That’s right Tony (Bourdain), move your skinny butt and your reduced sauces over. No, I take that back, there will always be a special place in my culinary heart for Tony. After all, his Les Halles cookbook did first introduce me to some of the best no nonsense Boeuf Bourguignon and French Onion Soup. I recently bought the Babbo cookbook from ebay and has since become my favorite book of recipes that I probably can’t make bc I don’t have access to all of those wonderful ingredients. You know what I’m talking about, luscious nuggets of earthy goodness ie black truffles, fresh squid ink, skate wings, sweetbreads, capon stock… More or less it has inspired me to cook like an Italian grandmother.
Butternut squash lune with hazelnut brown butter and mustard greens. This was inspired by Mario’s Pumpkin lune with butter and sage. Lune (little moons) often have crushed amaretti cookies in the filling and that’s what I used. I also used dumpling wrappers instead of fresh pasta dough… ok so I know that would deserve a slap on the face from a little old Italian lady, but hey, it works pretty well!
Butternut squash lune with hazelnut brown butter and mustard greens
1 butternut squash, small
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 small amaretti cookies, crushed
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 package dumpling wrappers
Brown Butter Sauce:
4 T butter
3 T chicken stock
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
3/4 cup mustard greens, rough chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a foil-lined baking sheet toss together the butternut squash, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in the oven until soft and golden, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots and garlic until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the butternut squash mixture, the shallot mixture, and the ricotta cheese and pulse a few times to blend. Add the crushed amaretti cookies, the nutmeg, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until smooth.
Place 1 tablespoon of squash mixture in the middle of each skin. Dip a pastry brush in a little water and wet the edges of the skin. Gently fold the wrapper into a half-circle, making sure the edges are securely closed and there are no air pockets inside. Dampen the two bottom corners of the longest side of the triangle and gently bring them together, pressing lightly to secure. Place the formed tortellini on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place the lune in the boiling water and gently stir. When they begin to float they are done, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and let cook until the butter starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add greens and stock and saute another 1 minute. Add half the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon the lune into the brown butter and gently stir for 30 sec. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
I also made a quick caprese salad for Mr. S and me.