DAVID HAYDON’S CULINARY journey began when he was 15 and a chance dish- washing gig landed him in the world of fine French dining. “My best friend’s dad owned La Petite Auberge — an old-school French restaurant in San Rafael — and I filled in for him [as kitchen help] one night,” he says. Three years later Haydon dedicated himself to mastering Italian cuisine and as
a junior partner co-opened Cafe Ristorante Italia in 1987. But the idea of top chef beck-
oned to the driven Haydon and he set his ambitions on opening a restaurant of his own.
Il Davide, launched in June 1995, has been in business almost 25 years. “We’ve stayed so
popular because we’ve been changing all the time and have listened to the clients; you have
to listen to the clients,” Haydon says. “I believe in an evolved
menu and we have an ambitious one with about 45 dishes.”
Meanwhile, consistent quality and meeting of expectations is
also key: “When people ask me for a recipe I know I’ve made
it right.” With that in mind, Haydon has authored the cookbook To the Taste, available for purchase in the restaurant: “I
got sick of people asking me for recipes,” he says with a laugh.
Here he outlines how to make butternut squash ravioli, aka
ravioli di zucca. “This is a lovely fall and winter dish inspired
by the holiday season; the toasted walnuts are wonderful and
pureed in the filling.”
ildavide.net KASIA PAWLO WSKA
Out & About / FLAVOR
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Spinach Pasta Dough
5 ounces fresh spinach, blanched and squeezed dry
1 pound all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup toasted walnuts
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water)
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
3 sage leaves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Finely grated Parmesan for garnish
RECIPE EDI TED BY LYNDA BALSLEV
Make the dough 1 In the bowl of a food processor, combine
the blanched spinach, flour and salt. Process to mix well.
With the machine running, add the egg yolks, egg and olive oil
through the feed tube, and process until mixture resembles
wet cornmeal, about 2 minutes. 2 Take a handful of dough
at a time and form into a firm ball. Repeat with the remaining
dough. Roll out each dough ball to the thinnest setting on a
pasta machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make the ravioli 1 Heat the oven to 375°F. Brush the butternut squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place cut-side-down on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven
and bake until soft, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven
and cool. 2 While the squash is baking, puree the walnuts in
a food processor to form a paste.
3 Scoop the squash meat
into the food processor with the walnut puree. Add the mascarpone, ricotta, Parmesan, butter and nutmeg. Puree to blend
and season with salt and pepper.
4 Transfer the filling to a
pastry bag. Cut the rolled-out pasta into 4-inch squares, placing them in a row on a long work surface. Brush each square
with the egg wash. Pipe or spoon a large tablespoon of filling
into the center of half of the pasta squares. Place the remaining sheets on top of the squares, pressing the air out around
the mound of filling. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork
and place on a lightly floured surface such as a cookie sheet.
5 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Make the sauce
While the water is heating, heat the cream in a large sauté
pan over high heat. When it begins to bubble up and rise, add
the butter, walnuts, sage, nutmeg and salt, stirring or swirling
the pan to mix the ingredients. Keep warm. Cook and serve
1 Place 12 raviolis in the boiling water and cook until they
float, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain the pasta with a skimming spoon
or “spider” and add to the sauce. 2 To serve, place 3 raviolis
on 4 plates. Spoon the sauce with walnuts over the ravioli and
garnish with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Butternut squash ravioli at Il Davide.