Summer is all. School is only. We made it to school on time, which is always an accomplishment.
At the beginning of the year, we are able to show a great deal of understanding for road repairs, children dawdling to the bus, Dunkin Donut employees that ask us to pull out of the drive-through lane and wait for our order, missed lights, missed turns, and missed opportunities — we make Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, very proud.
By the third month into the school year, I have devised every driving hack I can think of to beat the traffic. We plan routes around construction and fake right hand turns so I can give a little wave and cut in front of traffic. I never let a bus in front of me, Dunkin Donut employees shudder at my voice, and small children race to buses when they see me pull up. How bad is city traffic in the morning? I can drive 30 expressway miles in the same amount of time, or less, than I can drive the 11½ city miles to school.
Dropping my newly minted sophomore off at school and watching him dash through the doors I flashbacked to the, first day of school, nine years earlier. Time flies! As I drove off the radio played “Knocking on Heavens Door” , so I knew Joe was with us in spirit. We miss him fiercely during transitions in our lives.
After running a few errands, I headed downtown for a lunch date at Trattoria No 10, a Chicago restaurant I had never been to before. I found a garage to park in, cringed at the parking rates, took a picture of where I was parked, and very, very carefully put my parking ticket in the side pocket of my purse.
The restaurant was just down the street, and I liked it the minute I walked through the door. When we were seated, my lunch date suggested that I order — are you ready for this — Butternut Squash Ravioli. The food of the day! Well, technically the food of the day was acorn squash, but close enough. I ordered the dish, and it was so good I could have licked the plate clean. I didn’t.
Normally, I would have grabbed my phone and taken a picture of my plate, but . . . well, I was too shy. Sometimes, once in a great while, I’m shy. Not a lot shy, but a little shy.
After a wonderful lunch, I was on my way back to the garage to collect my car and head back to school to pick up Cole. Guess what? No parking ticket. I searched high and low and everywhere in between. I dumped the stuff out of my purse. I went back to the restaurant. Gone. Gone! Do you remember a few posts back when I did the parking happy dance because my parking was $17.00 dollars instead of $37.00? Chicago giveth and Chicago taketh away. I had to pay for a lost ticket, it was almost exactly the amount I had saved myself a few weeks earlier.
As I drove off, I switched the radio to the oldies station, which was playing “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head,” and I started to laugh. Joe used to sing this song to me when he wanted to cheer me out of a crabby mood. I could almost feel him tapping on my head.
I picked up Cole from school, and on the way home he asked, “Mom do you remember Dad?” It’s a game we play . . . I usually answer with, I remember when your dad . . .” and tell a Joe story, but this time we just both said together, “I miss him.”
The next day, I called Trattoria 10 with an Odd request. I wondered if someone would take a picture of their Butternut Squash Ravioli. I spoke to Troy Boyer, the restaurant manager, who not only wished me a Belated Happy Butternut Squash Day when I shared with him what the food of the day had been, but also sent me Chef Laura Pipe’s recipe and a fabulous picture to share with you.
Emily fixed acorn squash for her family,
and not one of her children liked it. I asked her if she admonished them with stories of pagan babies and starving children, but clever Emily said, “Nope, there was more for me.”
I know my musing is way behind but I’m committed to musing about each food day and, eventually I will catch up….don’t leave me alone to muse; like the lonely Maytag repair man…tell me WASSUP with you!! Odd Loves Company
Butternut Squash Ravioli (I would, of-course, just make reservations: 312-984-1718)
8 oz. fine durum wheat
8 oz. flour
pinch of fine salt
1 tsp. olive oil
To prepare dough, combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Whip eggs and pour in a slow stream into dry mix with processor running until a firm ball is formed, add oil, this will soften the dough, let rest, covered for 30 minutes.
12 oz. butternut squash
10 oz. acorn squash
1-1/2 oz. chopped walnuts
2 oz. butter
2 Tbs light brown sugar
1/2 oz. grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste
To prepare filling, cut squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Place on a sheetpan with a little water, bake for 45 minutes, while the squash is cooking, roast the walnuts on a half sheetpan for 10 minutes. While squash is still warm, scoop all the meat out and place in a mixing bowl along with butter, brown sugar, walnuts and parmesan. Work all ingredients together by hand with a whip. Cover and refrigerate.
Method: roll out dough with a pasta sheeter to desired thickness, sprinkle with durum flour to prevent sticking. Lay one sheet on a table and pipe the squash mix two inches apart. With a pastry brush, paint water around filling. Lay another sheet on top and press air out before sealing the ravioli. Cut the ravioli in a uniform manner with rolling cutter. Place ravioli on a sheetpan that has been sprinkled with durum flour, sprinkle on top of ravioli as well, this is important because of the moisture, if the ravioli are too wet they will fall apart in the boiling water. Freezing is not recommended.