One thing I don't like about the fall and winter is that by the time I'm able to cook and take photographs on most days, it's dark. That makes photography really difficult. We don't have a lot of lights in our apartment. Even though I have a couple good flashes for my camera, I'm not overly skilled in their use yet... So, I am feeling more disappointed in my food photos as the season changes. It's amazing the difference natural light makes. Anyways, that is my apology for the photos here and probably to come as we move through the autumn and winter. However, one of my favorite things - winter squash - makes up for it a little. I've been participating in 12 Weeks of Winter Squash hosted by Eats Well With Others and Girlichef. Anyone familiar with my blog knows that I adore winter squash in both sweet and savory dishes. So this event is a perfect way for me to try even more winter squash recipes.
At the beginning of this year, I made pierogi for the first time. I loved how delicious they were and how easy they were to make. I've made the potato and cheddar ones a couple times now, but have been wanting to experiment with other fillings. Winter squash stuffed into a slightly chewy and lighty golden pierogi seemed like a no-brainer to me. I chose kabocha squash because not only are they really delicious, but they have a smooth texture and tend to be denser and drier that other winter squash (so they don't let off a much liquid with you are trying to fill the pierogi). The result was a creamy and super delicious filling with only a few simple ingredients. The dough recipe comes from Closet Cooking. This recipe will make approximately 20 pierogi.
Kabocha squash and ricotta pierogi
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 cup mashed kabocha squash
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
Cut one small kabocha squash in half and remove the seeds/strings. Bake cut side down in a 350 degree oven until you can pierce it with a fork. Let it cool and then scrape out the flesh into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork. Gently stir in the ricotta, nutmeg, and salt. Refrigerate until assembly time.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and then slowly add the butter and milk mixture while whisking.
Create a well in the flour and add the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together and form a ball.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for about three minutes. It should remain slightly sticky. Form it into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, slightly flatten it out and cut into four equal pieces. Then, cut the quarters into one-inch square(ish) equal pieces (you will get about 4-5 per quarter). Take the dough pieces, gently roll into a ball in your hands then roll out into a 1/4-inch thick circle on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the dough. Fold it over and press the edges together until they are fully sealed. Keep a small dish of water nearby and dip your fingertips into it if the dough isn't sealing.
Continue until all the dough is used. Cook the pierogi (in batches if cooking them all or a large amount) in a large pot of salted boiling water until they float (about 3 minutes). Gently remove them with a slotted spoon. They are ready to eat at that point; however, you can also set them aside to dry off and then fry them (in batches) with about a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil along with some onions and fresh sage leaves, if desired (and I definitely recommend).
Serve immediately. You can also freeze the pierogi in a single layer on a baking sheet and then place them in freezer bags for future meals. Add a couple of minutes to the boiling time when cooking.
What was I cooking one year ago?: orange and honey roasted rutabaga
Two years ago?: pumpkin pancakes