November 13, 2012

Kabocha squash and ricotta pierogi

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.  

I used a green kabocha for my filling. Kobochas can be green or orange and are often confused with others like red kuri and buttercup. I'm still not 100% sure if the squash in the above photo is a red kuri or a orange kabocha....They are all delicious and cute.

What was I cooking one year ago?: orange and honey roasted rutabaga 
Two years ago?: pumpkin pancakes 


  1. squash filled pierogi?? these completely MAKE MY LIFE! i haven't made pierogis in years. and this is exactly how i want to fill them next time :)

  2. I feel your pain. It's dark shortly after 5 lately and I don't even get home from picking up the kids from their respective activities until the sun is already making its descent. I have to plan things that I can make early and reheat later. Grrrr. And I think that putting squash into a pierogi (♥) is genius. I have a kabocha waiting to be used...I rarely find them around here for some reasons...but I saw one and snatched it up! :)

  3. Oh, yum! I've never thought of making pierogi from scratch but these sound great + don't sound too hard to make. I'll have to try something like this soon!

  4. I hate how it gets dark so early in the fall, too - my pictures suffer :) These look amazing!

  5. I can just imagine how creamy the squash + ricotta makes these---YUMMY!!

  6. These beautiful pierogi look very delicious. They are just like Chinese dumplings. Never thought of using squash for the filling. Would love to try that one day. Thanks very much for sharing. Came here from Faith's blog. I tried her saffron rice and it was very delicious, especially with curry.

  7. ooh, yum. what a beautiful filling for pierogi! reminds me i've got a big batch to make before the holidays :)

  8. Haha I am the same way, I keep playing with artificial light and nothing is working out for me. Oh well. The food is what matters, yeah? These sound delish!

  9. such a wonderful pierogi filling!! just love it!

  10. This sounds incredibly delicious, and so comforting for the cold (and dark) winter months!

  11. These still look so appetizing to me! I've never made pierogis but I do like 'em :)

  12. Hmmm.. I think I'm going to make something like this but without ricotta though. Looks yummy!

  13. I have the same problem with light at this time of year. It's dark by 5:00! Despite that, your pierogis sound wonderful.


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