Thanksgiving is a holiday that belongs to all Americans. There are certain hallmarks of the day—turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. There is the pleasure of returning to the same meal each year. But let’s be honest; the same food year in, year out can also get boring.
Consider reinventing, or rather, reinvigorating Thanksgiving this year. Doing something new doesn’t mean you must pore over the pages in design magazines. It doesn’t mean making radical departures from the foods your family knows and loves. After all, comfort is an essential and beautiful part of the Thanksgiving meal.
My idea is simple: refresh tradition by returning to tradition.
Add diversity to your Thanksgiving meal by tapping in to your family’s culinary roots. Think of new/old ways to prepare classic Thanksgiving fare. For example, if your family is French, you can use the turkey innards to make a pate. If your family is Middle Eastern or North African, make a cous cous dish showcasing squash. A Hispanic family might prepare a dish with corn as the main attraction. A Chinese family could cook the turkey using the preparation used to make BBQ pork or Peking duck. This year, incorporate the spices and flavors of your childhood into your Thanksgiving meal to create a holiday that’s both novel and deeply familiar.
Because much of my family comes from Italy, we’ve added squash ravioli with brown butter and sage to our Thanksgiving menu. Unless you choose to make the ravioli yourself, this dish is an easy crowd-pleaser.
Squash (or Pumpkin!) Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 package FRESH, not dried, squash or pumpkin ravioli
4 tbs salted butter
2 cloves garlic
7 large sage leaves
pinch of sea salt
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts (optional)
1. Add salt and set water to boil for ravioli in a medium pot.
2. Peel 2 cloves of garlic, smash to release flavor.
3. Wash and de-stem sage leaves
4. Chop hazelnuts coarsely. Set aside.
5. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the garlic and sage. Cook until the sage is crispy and the butter has begun to turn brown. Add salt to taste. Remove the garlic and discard.
6. When the water begins to boil, add the ravioli. (Attention! Fresh pasta takes only 3-4 minutes to cook. Time accordingly.) Strain pasta in sink, in strainer.
7. Arrange 6-8 ravioli on each plate. Drizzle with the butter sauce and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Local products are always best your best bet. However, if you can’t find squash ravioli near you, here are some vendors that sell this type of ravioli nationally and will ship:
FreshPasta.com- scroll down to the “Ravioli” sectionMarx Foods