If You Can’t Join ’em, Beet ’em: Beet Ravioli

When are too many cooks in the kitchen a good idea?  When you’re making ravioli, of course!

This past weekend, we picked up beets and sage at the Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo, and a Pasta Machine from Ross: Dress for Less for $18.  When I attempted to make my own ravioli in the past, it was pretty much a disaster.  This time around, I discovered that making your own pasta is definitely a team effort.  This is one of the only times when you might say that two to four people in your kitchen is actually helpful.

We had six for dinner and all agreed that it was a great dish. The presentation is just beautiful with the juxtaposition of the red beet inside inside the yellow ravioli, and the black poppyseed sauce covering it all.  The poppy seeds were also great because their texture added to the overall eating experience.  My best friend suggested putting fried sage on top of the pasta right before serving.  That was a great idea that added a savory crunch!

Improvements for next time:

Some thought the butter sauce needed salt.  Our pasta was a bit too thick and overpowered the beet filling flavor a bit, so next time we would make the pasta sheets thinner.  Although, thinner pasta sheets may be difficult to keep the filling inside of the raviolis while they are boiling.

Recipe after the jump

Beet & Goat Cheese Ravioli

Adapted from multiple recipes.

3 beets
Fresh sage (for roasting beets & for topping)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup goat cheese
3/4 cup of ricotta
1/4 tsp. Ground nutmeg

Beware: Beets seriously stain!

To Make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Wash and dry the beets.  Cut off the end greens (you can cook and serve the beet greens as a side dish, we did).  Wrap the beets in foil and drizzle with olive oil, then add salt and pepper, and fresh sage leaves.  Roast for about 1 hour or until soft.  Remove from oven and let steam in foil.  Let the beets cool completely and then peel off the skin.

Grate the beets into shavings and combine with the ingredients for the filling: goat cheese, ricotta, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mash together.

Handmade Pasta

3 cups Semolina Flour*
1 tsp. Salt
4 Eggs
4 Tbsp. Water
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Combine Semolina and salt, then add beaten eggs, water, and oil.  Mix by hand or by using a dough hook in mixer.  Then knead the dough for 10 minutes or until dough is elastic.  Wrap the dough in a towel for 20 minutes.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a long piece, about 5 inches wide.  Set your pasta machine up to roll out pasta sheets.  The pasta machine step is a two-person job (unless you have more than 2 hands, or an electric pasta maker).  Start to roll it on a wider setting (our widest setting is 1).  Then progress sequentially through the thicknesses putting the pasta sheet back into the machine on all of these settings until the dough is to your desired thickness.

* Semolina Flour makes a pasta strand stretch and not break. We used Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour from Whole Foods.

Make the Ravioli:

Place the thin pasta dough sheets on a floured surface and use the top of a glass or a biscuit cutter and cut the rolled out pasta sheets into circles.  Put a small bowl of water on the side of your workspace. Use a teaspoon to place a bit of the beet filling in the middle of each pasta circle.  Dip your finger in the glass of water and dampen the edges of the ravioli.  Close the rounds into a half moon shape.

Boil water with a touch of salt.  After the water is boiling, add the raviolis and boil them until they float, 3-4 minutes.  Drain as with any pasta.

For the Sauce:

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. of poppy seeds
Salt to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan

While the pasta is cooking melt the butter.  Add poppyseeds and salt.  Toss the cooked raviolis with the sauce and add the fried sage to the top.

Fried Sage Topping

20-30 large fresh sage leaves
Olive or canola oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan until it ripples.  Turn to medium heat and add the sage leaves.  Let them fry until the oil stops bubbling.  Then carefully remove with tongs and place them onto a paper towel to absorb the oil.  Add salt and toss.  Place the fried sage on top of the ravioli as a garnish before serving.

Zach: A more subtle in flavor ravioli but very delicious.  I would recommend more cheese in the filling but the subtle butter poppy sauce was a good match for this pasta and the color was nice.  Use bigger ravioli to get more filling.  A good change up on traditional ravioli.

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