Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
It’s the season for ghosts, goblins and jack-o’-lanterns. Halloween is coming and it is time to head down to the pumpkin patch. Cold, clear nights and warm sunny days paint the trees in red and gold, creating a wonderful backdrop for an afternoon of fun. Large or small, you’re sure to find a great pumpkin at your favorite pick-your-own patch. If you’re lucky there’ll be a corn maze to explore and hayrides to enjoy after you find that perfect pumpkin for Halloween.
While you are at it, pick up some sugar pumpkins and butternut squash for dinner. There are many wonderful pumpkin and squash dishes, both sweet and savory, that you can make with your kids. Fall wouldn’t be fall without a pumpkin whoopee pie or butternut squash ravioli. If you’ve never made homemade pasta, it’s delicious fun on a rainy Saturday. Let your kids knead the dough and turn the crank on the pasta machine.
Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli
Serves 4 (or double the recipe and freeze the extras for another night)
Roasted butternut squash filling:
About 1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, quartered
1/2 tsp. thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 T. mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Putting it all together:
1 large egg
4 to 6 T. butter
About 1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
6 to 8 sage leaves, minced
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Make the filling:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss squash and onion with enough equal parts olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat. Sprinkle vegetables with thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss again.
Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally, until squash is golden and tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
Transfer vegetables to a food processor, add the mascarpone and Parmigiano Reggiano and process until smooth.
Can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Any extra filling makes a great bruschetta topping – spread on toasted baguette slices, sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano or fontina, and warm in the oven until the cheese is bubbly.
Make the pasta dough:
Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface, shape into a mound and make a well in the center. Put the eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw the flour into the eggs until all the flour is incorporated into the dough.
(You can also make the dough with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. First combine the flour and salt and then add the eggs, 1 at a time. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball.)
Dust your work surface with flour. Knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes.
Put the remaining olive oil in a bowl. Roll the dough in the oil until evenly coated. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Dust your work surface and the dough with flour. Flatten the dough into rectangles and roll them through a pasta machine three or four times on the widest setting. Reduce the setting and continue to crank the dough through the machine, three or four times at each setting until each piece is about 1/8-inch thick.
Putting it all together:
Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.
Dust the counter and one side of each pasta sheet with flour. Using a large cookie cutter, make 2 1/2 – 3-inch circles. (Save the pasta scraps and use them in soup.)
Brush one side of half of the circles with egg wash and add a small dollop butternut squash. Top with the remaining pasta circles and gently press together. Crimp the edges with a fork to tightly seal.
Lightly sprinkle a sheet pan and the raviolis with cornmeal and let them sit uncovered for 30 minutes to dry slightly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli and cook for 3 minutes or until they float to the top. Don’t overcrowd the pot.
While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, melt the butter. Add the nuts and sage and continue to cook until butter starts to brown. Remove from heat.
Remove ravioli from the pot with a large strainer and place in the pan with the brown butter. Gently swirl or toss the raviolis in the butter to lightly coat; serve immediately with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From the bakers at King Arthur Flour
Makes about 1 dozen Whoopie Pies
1/2 c. soft butter
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. molasses
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. (one 15-ounce can) pumpkin
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Beat together butter, oil, sugar, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, until fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin. Add flour in two batches, mixing well after each addition.
Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, drop batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches around each mound. Bake until the cookies feel firm; a slight indentation will remain when you gently press them in the middle, about 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 T. soft butter
2 c. glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the sugar in two additions.
Sandwich 2 tablespoons of filling between two cookies.
For best storage, wrap individual whoopie pies in plastic wrap.
Susan Nye writes for several New England magazines and newspapers. She shares stories and recipes on her blog Around the Table at www.susannye.wordpress.com.