Grant McWilliams

Food Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pistachio Cream

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pistachio Cream

There's a small restaurant in an Italian town very few have heard of that serves a butternut squash ravioli in pistachio cream sauce that's so good the clouds part and the angels sing – or so they say. Modena is a town sparse with foreign tourists but famous among automobile enthusiasts as the home of passionate car maker Maserati. Not only does Maserati reside here but a few miles down the road Ferrari makes some of the most beautiful machines the earth has ever seen. If that weren't enough a few miles in the opposite direction is Ferrari's arch rival and raging bull Lamborghini. That as they say is a lot of Italian Passione in one spot. Everywhere in Modena you get the feeling of vibrancy. It's in the narrow cobblestone streets lined with bright orange, yellow and pastel pink houses, the music and the food. If one strolls to Piazza Giacomo Matteotti at the heart of the city they will come upon this famous restaurant serving the aforementioned pasta that brings forth the angels – or so they say.

I was in Venice on a very rainy day with nothing to do so I hitched a ride on a train to Moden to taste this wonderful pasta and hear the angels sing. Down the narrow streets, across the piazza and past the stacks of bistro chairs and deep read awnings I hurried only to be greeted by a hand written sign reading  - Chiuso. Closed? I've come 10,000 miles to taste his pasta! In Italy there isn't a reason more important than one living life the way they want to live it and apparently my troubles were not great enough for the owner to interrupt his life to make me some past. I left vowing to return another day.

Two years later I was in Bologna tasting what is supposed to be the world's best Gelato and remembered that Modena wasn't that far away. Another train and a brisk walk lands me in front of the exact same restaurant on the exact same piazza looking at the exact same sign. Questa è la vita - such is life.

Butternut Squash Ravioli in Pistachio Cream sounds lovely but unfortunately after 4 trips to Italy I've still not had the pleasure of hearing the angels in song. However, I have spent some time imagining the results and I've crafted my own version which you see here. Angels don't sing when you eat it but you might hear a slight murmur. I won't be putting up a recipe because I make it so rarely that I haven't had time to write down what I do to get the result I want. There's de-shelled, poached then de-skinned and finely ground pistachios, minced garlic in olive oil, brown sugar and cream in the right quantities and of course butternut squash ravioli. How much of each? You decide, they're your angels.

Food Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pistachio Cream