I’ve been meaning to try this dish for a while, but I kept putting it off for the weekend. Things are usually less hectic, and I can devote more time and energy to making an involved dinner.
Last night when I got home, I was exhausted. I felt like frying an egg and calling it a day…but then I saw the hazelnuts on my counter, and thought about the gourmet pumpkin ravioli in my freezer. “It won’t really take that much work,” I reasoned, and pulled out a pot and cutting board.
Even though the dish requires prep work, you can snack as you go: You’ll want to try the butternut squash croutons to make sure they don’t burn, and check for the consistency of the caramelized onions. And you can work in stages, so you’re not juggling too many things at once.
Start by preparing the squash, so it can roast in the oven while you make the other parts of the dish. While you boil the raviolis, you can start browning the onions in a pan. By the time you’ve finished those steps, the butternut squash will be almost ready. Slip in a smaller pan with hazelnuts, and let them roast for a few minutes. Add some chard to the pan with the onions, mix in the raviolis, and top with the butternut squash croutons and roasted hazelnuts.
I thought the idea of butternut squash croutons sounded strange at first, but really, they’re just small, roasted cubes of squash. I loved how all the flavors and textures came together in this dish: The roasted hazelnuts were slightly smoky and crunchy, the butternut squash croutons were crispy and sweet, and the caramelized onions were good enough to eat on their own.
You can use whatever kind of ravioli you’d like in the dish, but I found that the pumpkin ravioli complemented the other ingredients. This dish is perfect comfort food for a chilly fall evening, and is definitely worth the extra time and effort.
Hazelnut and Chard Ravioli (slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1 package frozen raviolis
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
fine grain sea salt
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, deveined and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup butternut squash croutons
zest of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the butternut squash and cut it into small cubes. Place cubes on a baking sheet and toss with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast cubes in the oven until golden brown and crunchy.
Add the ravioli into a large pot of well-salted boiling water. After a few minutes, when the raviolis float and are cooked through, drain them and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil. This prevents them from sticking together. Set aside.
To caramelize the onions, heat another tablespoon of the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed skillet with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Set skillet with onions aside.
Add a pan with 1/2 cup hazelnuts into the oven. Roast for about 5 minutes, or until brown and fragrant. Remove from oven, let cool, and then chop.
Just before serving heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet with the caramelized onions. Stir in the chard, and then add the raviolis. Wait until the chard begins to wilt, then stir in most of the cheese and most of the hazelnuts. Gently fold in the butternut squash and lemon zest. Remove from heat.
Serve on a big plate with remaining hazelnuts and Parmesan.