The Best Pumpkin Ravioli Topping

Frozen pumpkin ravioli have become a staple in our household. But I'm starting to get bored with the sage browned butter. Last time I dressed it up with garlic, pearl onions and pine nuts, but I wanted to try something new. I can't tell you how many times I've googled "sauce for pumpkin ravioli", but I really haven't found many ideas. I never have the items on hand for a creamy sauce, so I've stuck to the tried and true browned butter (although I'm not that great at actually getting it "brown").  Last night I searched again, and finally happened upon a discussion on Commenters posted all kinds of ideas for pumpkin ravioli toppings, but generally agreed that browned butter is the best. I decided to take several of their collective suggestions, and add a splash of balsamic, some dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. The result looked like Christmas, tasted like Thanksgiving. The balsamic added some tanginess, and the chewy tart cranberries contrasted well with the crunchy toasted nuts. We'll definitely be having this again.

Sage Cranberry Hazelnut Browned Butter
1/4 C Hazelnuts, chopped into halves
Browned Butter (detailed instructions: Simply Recipes,
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Handful of fresh Sage leaves
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar Di Modena
1/8 tsp Sugar
1/4 C Dried Cranberries
Fresh Grated Parmigiano cheese

Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) Ravioli, storebought, cooked.

1. Heat a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add the hazelnuts and stir until toasted. Remove pan from heat, and set nuts aside. Carefully wipe away any bits in the pan with a paper towel.

2. Prepare browned butter by melting about 4T unsalted butter in the pan over medium heat. 

3. Once the butter has becoming foamy (after about 2-3 minutes), add the sage leaves. Cook until the leaves get dark and crispy (about 3-5 minutes).

4. Add 1 or 2T olive oil, a dash of salt, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the vinegar carefully, as it may steam and spit when it hits the hot butter. Turn heat to low-medium.

5. Add the cranberries and stir until they are heated through and soften.

6. Remove ravioli from water with a slotted spoon and drop them into the butter pan. Some water may get involved in the sauce, but just turn up the heat a little and let it evaporate as you fold the ravioli gently in the butter to coat. 

7. Plate ravioli using the slotted spoon, and then spoon some butter over each plate. Top with toasted hazelnuts, grated cheese and pepper.

 Add sage after butter foams. That way the sage will have plenty of time to get crispy before the butter turns very brown. Don't let the butter get too brown, turn down the heat if it sizzles too much, you don't want it to start to smoke or to burn.
*Always keep a cookie sheet handy while cooking oil or butter - if it happens to catch on fire, just slide the pan right over the pan to cut off the oxygen.
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