Little Pockets of Squash

This looks complicated.
Totally not.
All you need is a bit of time and then you can freeze these babies and use them whenever you want.

Here's the thing:
When I look at a butternut squash (or any large squash for that matter) I'm dead certain I'm going to chop off a finger while cutting it in half. It wouldn't be the first time I cut myself badly in the kitchen, but let's not discuss that. (shiver) Then one day I read  about a safe method for cutting any large squash in half. You get a nice long, sharp knife and a hammer. That's what I said: a hammer. Set the knife where you want to cut the squash, hold on to the handle of the knife with your left hand and tap the knife firmly with the hammer along its length until it works on through the squash. Try it, it works like a charm. On any squash. No appendages lost. No ER.

These squash pockets are another of Giada ("The Rack") De Laurentis's recipes but I changed a few things. I'm at a loss to explain why she added amaretti cookies to the filling- not my taste at all. Texture? A touch of sweet? Sometimes I think Giada adds something "Italian" merely to make the recipe different without much thought to flavor. It doesn't always work. I've seen her do it several times and without even tasting it I thought to myself: she just ruined that recipe.

My opinion.

Anyway-I put some dried sage in for more flavor. I think this dish is better as a savory- not a sweet. And while I like acorn squash with brown sugar this seems better with just the dried fruit and nuts to give it a touch of sweetness. As for the brown butter sauce, if you put the fruit and nuts in when she says to, you end up with tasteless dark brown pebbles. So I browned the butter, then added the sage, nuts and fruit at the end.

As for the scrumptious filling, I scarfed down the leftovers for dinner. 

Butternut Squash Tortellini in Brown Butter Sauce
(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian)


1 butternut squash, approximately 2 pounds, peeled, cubed (about 3 cups)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 large shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
4 small amaretti cookies, crushed (I omitted these, add if you like)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package small wonton wrappers

For the Brown Butter Sauce:
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

2 tablespoons torn fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or chopped dried cherries, or mixture of both
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375°. On a foil-lined baking sheet toss together the butternut squash, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, herbs de Provence, 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 (which I omitted and instead added 1/2 teaspoon dried sage), the nutmeg, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until smooth. The tortellini filling can be made one day ahead.

To make the tortellini, lay out 6 wonton skins, (I used a silpat) keeping the remaining skins inside the package or under a very lightly dampened paper towel. Place 1 large teaspoon of squash mixture in the middle of each skin.

Dip a pastry brush in a little water and wet the edges of the skin all the way around. Gently fold the square wrapper into a triangle, 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. Before laying out another 6 wonton sheets, be careful to dry the work surface.  Continue until all the butternut squash mixture is used. There should be approximately 36 tortellini. (The tortellini can be formed, frozen on the baking sheet, transferred to a tightly sealed plastic bag or container and stored for up to six months. To cook, simply toss the frozen ravioli into the salted boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.)

To cook the tortellini, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Allow the butter to foam and then begin to turn golden. Watch carefully because it only takes seconds to go from a lovely brown to burned. Add the sage, walnuts and cranberries and let everything warm through. Turn the heat off and season with salt, and pepper.

Place the tortellini in the boiling water and gently stir. When they begin to float they are done, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon,  spoon the tortellini onto a serving platter, Top with the brown butter sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.


  1. For some reason I have this mental roadblock against making homemade ravioli/tortellini. But these really look easy (or at least easier than I'm making them out to be). Or I could just make the filling and eat it with a spoon. That is certainly another option.

    This looks delicious! I am always scared I am going to cut myself when I cook squash. Which is why I tend to just cut it in half and throw it in the oven. It minimizes the opportunities I have to slice off a finger.

  2. Wow Barbara - that is such precise folding-they looks wonderful. Oh, and that brown butter...I can just smell it from here! Love sage and squash combos too.

  3. this looks so good, i have been craving this lately...

  4. I just happen to have a package of won tons. Now, I have a use for it. Thanks.

  5. This is a funny post--I've often had the same thought about Giada. She adds those cookies to different things and every time, I think, "Really?" Anyway, your recipe looks great! And thanks for the tip on cutting squash, I'll have to try it!

  6. This dish is a real show-stopper! It looks so lovely and sounds so full of flavor. And thanks for the tip on cutting squash, minus the ER visit...I'll definitely be giving that a try!

  7. Oh! I had a similar dish in a Italian restaurant and love it...will definitely try yours...looks wonderful :-)

  8. Joanne: I've never made ravoli from scratch either. But these wonton squares work perfectly; I'm going to try chocolate pockets too.

    Shaz: There's something about cooking with sage this time of year isn't there?

    Sweet and Savory and Once in a Blue Moon: I can think of tons of things both sweet and savory to stuff these little gems with!

    Hungry Dog and Faith: I really meant it when I said I hated to cut squash- actually have asked the market to do it for me! No more. This way works.

    Julianna: It really is a delicious dish- and I froze a bunch of them for company later.

  9. Barbara, this looks amazing! What a delicious sauce to accent your great squash tortellinis. I am definitely going to give this a try. Thanks

  10. This looks absolutely delicious, and I LOVE the sauce. Great idea to freeze them, I hate having "impromptu" guests :( and this would be sure to impress!

  11. This sounds just delicious with the brown butter sauce! I'd skip the amaretti cookies too.

  12. WOW this recipe looks fantastic! I love giada :) I think she added cookies just because she really likes sweets hehe. I like the knife/hammer trick. I will have to try that.

  13. Great combo of flavors!

    I've never had squash ravioli, I tend to go to to the boring, plain old cheese, I'll have to try these! Looks fantastic, not to mention delicious!

  14. the rack. ha. barbara, not only is this is an extremely elegant and classy creation, but dang, it’d be tasty! and i know what you mean about the perils of cutting up butternut squash—those suckers are tough!

  15. This seems like quite a lot of work but I can tell that the effort is totally worth it!!

  16. These sound amazing especially with the brown butter sauce, I love the walnuts & cranberries here!

  17. That's so funny! I saw her make these on FN and I thought, "Amaretti cookies in the filling? WTF?"

    I love that you call her "The Rack"--I blogged about Giada and her Ginormous Rack a while ago...it's quite impressive, isn't it?

  18. this is absolutely gorgeous! i love the filling in this, adn what a great way to use butternut squash! wonderful!

  19. I saw her make these (or something similar) and I wondered the same thing. Why the cookies? I think it's so she could say "amaretti" with an Italian accent.

  20. What I like about her is she genuinely seems to enjoy cooking! I use her pizza dough recipe, with my additions of herbs and spices- it is a no fail!

  21. I have never tried brown butter sauce... it looks incredible with the butterbut squash tortellini :)

  22. What a lovely dish! I picked up a package of ammeretti cookies in the store yesterday for a dessert. I can't see putting them in a ravioli!

  23. George: Love brown butter sauce on just about everything!

    HH: They're a super item to have in your freezer for last minute guests.

    Lisa: I love Giada's recipes but have to use my spin- as we all do.

    Erica: Hate to be such a chicken with knives- but I am!

    Dishes Done: One thing these aren't is boring!

    Grace: They really turned out well, Grace. Hope you have a chance to try them.

    Petite Nyonya: They aren't hard- just take a little time. But do them when you have time and freeze them.

    Natasha: They ARE amazing. And congrats again on your five year blogoversary!

    TKW: I kind of thought having the baby might make a difference, but nooooo.

    Teresa: Have to admit the filling was great all by itself!

    Unconfidential: Never thought of that reason! Love it.

    Buffalodick: I especially like her cookie recipes- she has had some great ones I use all the time. It's mostly why I watch her.

    Karine: Have noticed more and more recipes using brown butter sauce.

  24. Sarah: I agree. And I love those cookies too.

  25. They're so cute!

    And Hoot and Who will find a way to stick around...

  26. these look awesome and i adore herbs de provence

  27. Those look fantastic and I bet they taste even better! Yummy!



  28. Barbara this look so yummy!! gloria

  29. Oh these look absolutely delicious!!

  30. Duck: so glad to hear they'll stick around!

    Rebecca, Rosa, Gloria and Jessica: Thanks! They turned out way better than I expected!

  31. Now that looks so good. I love tortellini and this looks over the top good with the wonderful walnuts, brownsugar and cranberries! Thank you for the recipe!

  32. This looks so delicious. I agress with you about Gaida. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to her recipes. You seemed to have made this a scrumptious dish. You also make it looks so easy. I am going to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Oh my goodness Barbara, my mouth is simply watering. Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe. I love nothing better than squash. All shapes & forms.

  34. This dish looks and sounds delicious! I am with you on cutting squash - I am terrified every time I do it.

  35. Such a fasinating recipe!. Thanks for sharing. Amd love the way you made the tortellini.

  36. Wow I am SO impressed! that sounds absolutely amazing!!!

  37. Thanks everyone! So glad you like the recipe! I do love your comments!

  38. That looks good! wonton skins are so versatile aren't they?! You could use them for almost anything to be wrapped. The filling u made sounds n looks so yummy . Love your photos and step by step. tq for the trouble...:))

  39. Hi Barbara,

    This recipe looks delicious and I love tortellini and ravioli ~ would like to try this.
    thanks for sharing.


  40. Hi Barbara,

    You always have the best photos and fabulous recipes! This looks and sounds AMAZING!

    You are a very talented chef...wanna come live with me?

    I want to thank you for your wonderful comment, I really appreciate it!

    Love and hugs,

  41. Barbara, these little pasta folds look really good. It would never had occurred to me to use wonton wrappers-perfect! I think I would agree with you about using the ameretti cookies ( tad too sweet).
    You know until I read this, I too, dreaded cutting large squashes. This was a great tip!

  42. Why "the rack"? I haven't heard of her referred to that way before.

  43. MMMMMM,...your home made tortellini looks excellent!! Waw!!

    A grand dish!!!

  44. I love dishes you can freeze. I would love to try using the wonton wrappers too.

  45. Zurin: Sometimes directions are confusing w/o photos!

    Shannon: I agree- simple and elegant.

    Carolyn and Karyn: So pleased you like the recipe- I try to post things I really have liked.

    Velva: The squash-cutting problem is at long last over!

    Jessica: I answered on your site.

    Sophie: I know- it's a great recipe from Giada.

    Anita: I have some in the freezer right now! Great for unexpected company.

  46. favorite flavors! in fact, i think i'm having a guest blogger who will make a similar dish soon. hmm, the amaretti? do they give it a crunchiness? it does, now, make me want to make this recipe just to see what's going on.

  47. Beautiful! That looks like the perfect fall dish!

  48. This looks really tasty!I love Giada!

  49. I love how you have showen everything with pictures! The result looks so temting!

  50. Cate: I just think I would like it without the extra sweet- and the nuts are crunch enough for me.

    Half Baked and Erica: Great fall meal and yes, I like Giada too- especially some of her cookie recipes.

    Chocolaty Lifestyle: I like to show photos as I go along making something like this.

  51. Very delicious meal, and am impress that you have the patient of making this tiny morsels.

  52. Thats just fantastic Barbara...desert type tortellini is something I have never tried, bet this was incredible...

  53. They look wonderful! In fact, I have a gigantic squash/pumpkin on my kitchen table right now, which I wasn't sure how to use all up!
    About the amaretti, I still remember having "traditional pumpkin ravioli" in some town near Milan I visited with my parents when I was little. The ravioli filling had some amaretti in it. They they were inedible. I remember distinctly that, though I don't remember anything else about the town itself, including the name!

  54. You'll find more about the dahlia soon...

  55. Sounds like a wonderful recipe to celebrate Fall flavors - yum!

  56. Elra: It was easier than I thought!

    Nat: Glad you liked the recipe!

    Francesca: Interesting story- perhaps using the cookies is more common than I thought.

    Duck: Can't wait!

    Cate: It was...everyone loved the dish and I still have some in the freezer.

  57. This sounds absolutely wonderful. I love every, individual component!

  58. Hammer to the rescue!! Lol!! Funny post. It's weird reading all the falls recipes when I am sitting in the spring air in Sydney :)

  59. Good heavens, that's yummy looking! I will have to try it. And excellent tip on the squash-cutting! I love your blog and will be back for seconds. :)



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