This is “that pasta with cookies” which is turning up in every Italian restaurant in sight. It is a bit sweet, the veg, cookies and mostarda di frutta scarcely coming under the savory heading, and it must be restrained from turning into Total Dessert; this is where the grated cheese and sage butter come in.
Now making ravioli from scratch is a dreadful bore, and buying sheets of pasta for cookie-cutting into ravioli wraps is not always practical. Besides, the sheets tend to be too thick for the purpose. So I suggest you use the greatest new toy I’ve found in my old age: won ton wrappers, available in most supermarkets (above the broccoli at ours). You simply spoon your stuffing onto the middle of wrapper 1, run a watery finger around the edge, fit wrapper 2 on top and press the edges together, and voilà, a perfect sandwich.
And as we near the end of a chapter devoted in large part to Italian delights I must draw your attention to a high school commencement address by the delightfully quirky columnist Adair Lara who, besides telling the seniors of a Sonoma county school, “do not supply the rocks that are to be thrown at you [in life],” she exhorted:
“Go to Italy. I can’t stress this enough.”
De-seed 1 small butternut squash, brush on a little canola oil inside and outside, and place the squash upside down in an ovenproof dish, surrounded by a 1/2 inch deep pool of water; bake at 350° for an hour or a little more, until the squash is nice and mushy and beyond the need of a blender or food processor’s services.
Scoop out the flesh and combine it with:
about 1/2 cup of crushed almond macaroons
about 2/3 cup of chopped mostarda di frutta from the jar, with some of its syrup
3 or 4 tablespoons of grated dry jack or parmesan cheese
a pinch of nutmeg
a fairly generous amount of grated orange peel
(and toasted breadcrumbs will do no harm)
Spoon stuffing onto won ton wrappers as explained in the adjacent spiel. Boil the completed ravioli for no more than 4 minutes (in batches if they stick together in the water) and serve with browned butter rather liberally punctuated with sage. As always in our house/bistro/trattoria, pass extra grated cheese.