Though it doesn't show up in the photo much, the ravioli have a lovely pinkish glow: little bite-sized sunsets.
I've never eaten many beets. I've had them in a few restaurant salads, but I've never bought them. It's not that I'm opposed to beets-- I like them when I have them-- but I've never been inspired to explore them... until they were delivered to me in my CSA box. I've been told that beets are a big player so I decided to start off on a creative note. These ravioli are definitely one of my favorite things I've ever made. They're earthy and fresh at the same time, rich without being overwhelming. These would be great to impress friends at a dinner party, or a nice way to make yourself feel fancy on a quiet night in. They take a little time, but they are definitely worth it.
- Cut the stems and leaves off of four beets (I used both red and golden) and scrub them thoroughly. Also wash the greens and set them aside for later.
- Wrap the beets in foil and bake in the oven (or toaster oven!) for about one hour, until a fork can easily pierce them through.
- While the beets roast, make your pasta.
- In a bowl, combine 2 c. flour with a pinch of salt and some herbs if desired.
- Make a well in the center and add two eggs, 1/3 c. water, and 1 tsp. olive oil. With a fork blend the liquids first, then incorporate them into the flour. Blend gently until a dough begins to form; it's fine if it's a bit crumbly.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and have some stretch.
- Let the dough rest ten minutes.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
- Roll the dough out as thin as you can without it becoming transparent. Flip the dough frequently and add flour to prevent it from sticking.
- When all four sheets are rolled out, let it rest for 20 minutes.
- When the beets are done, take them out of the oven to cool. When you are able to touch them comfortably, take the skins off. If they don't peel away easily, rub them with a paper towel or cloth (be warned, they will stain).
- Grate them into a bowl (it will make about 1 c.) and add 1/2 c. ricotta cheese. Use a nice thick cheese or the mix will be too watery. If it is, you can add some bread crumbs.
- Blend the mix with a dash of salt, pepper, and herbs to taste.
- Here's where you can get creative. You can make squares like I did here, triangles, circles, or semi-circles. I went with the last option.
- To do this, cut out your circles. I used a 1 c. scoop and traced around its lip with a sharp knife. (save the scraps for a pasta salad... coming soon!)
- While you can fill them in whatever way you feel comfortable, this is the method I used: Hold the circle in your left hand. Dip a finger of your right hand into a cup of water and wet the border of half of the circle. With a fork, scoop up a bit of the mix (about a tsp.) and put it in the middle-ish of the circle, using your left thumb to scoot it off the fork if necessary. Close the circle over the filling then pinch the dough together with your right fingers, starting in the middle. Try not to leave pockets of air inside. Continue until all of the ravioli are filled.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently set the ravioli in the water and cook for about 6 minutes. Don't overload the pot; do a few batches if necessary.
- While they cook, brown some butter in a large pan.
- Transfer the ravioli to the pan and give them a good toss in the butter, then plate them and shred a bit of Parmesan cheese on top.
- Put the beet greens in the pan with the remaining butter and saute them until tender. Spoon them on top of the center of the ravioli and serve immediately.
This recipe actually makes 40 of this size of the ravioli, a good 4 servings. However, I only cooked 1 portion and have frozen the rest. Hopefully they will cook up perfectly, giving me at least four solid meals. Though this is a rather labor-intensive dish, it isn't much more difficult to make 40 than it would be to make 10 or 20. However, if you're running low on freezer space the recipe can easily be halved.