Summer just ain’t summer without beetroot, one of my favourite ingredients. I cook with it loads and love its versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes. Beetroot and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven and its hard to go past roasted beetroot in a salad or dip. It’s even amazing raw, shredded or juiced. As well as tasting good, beetroot is also a super food. With a little research, I discovered that not only is beetroot rich in antioxidants, it is scientifically proven to enhance your mood. Perfect.
This super sexy dish native to the Veneto region of Italy. It does take a little effort and time, but well worth it. In fact, if you were looking for a dish to cook for a special someone on Valentines Day, then this would have to be it.
1 bunch of small to medium sized beetroot
1 desiree potato, peeled cooked & mashed
1 tbs butter
1 large onion, very finely diced
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
200g 00 flour
1 small pinch salt
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp water
50g best quality salted butter
2 tbs poppy seeds
good quality parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 180C.
Trim the stems from the beetroot and wash well. Individually wrap the beets with foil and drizzle with a little olive oil before loosely closing them up. Bake in the oven for 1hr or until tender (they may take a little longer if they are big, test doneness with a skewer).
Make the pasta dough while the beetroots are baking as it needs time to rest. You really need a pasta machine for this recipe, if you don’t have one or want to save time you can use wonton skins (availble from Asian grocers). Not ideal, but it will still work.
Place the 00 flour, egg and salt in a food processor and whiz gently to combine. Add the olive oil and water and process until it is moist but crumbly. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead until it comes together and is smooth. Press into a rectangle and wrap with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
When the beets are done and cool enough to handle, gently rub the skins off and puree the beetroot (you may want to use gloves when peeling the beets to avoid pink tinged fingers). Gently saute the onion in a little butter until soft and starting to caramelise. Add the pureed beetroot and cook for another couple of minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the beetroot and mashed potato into a large bowl (make sure both are cooled otherwise the egg will scramble). Add egg and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Halve the pasta dough and start rolling through your machine until you get to the last setting. Lay out on a lightly floured bench and using a large round cutter, cut out circles and lift up the excess pasta (you can re-roll this to eliminate wastage). Dot each circle with a small teaspoon of beetroot filling. It’s good to get a bit of a production line happening here.
Dampen the edge of the ravioli with little water and gently fold the edges over to form a semi circle and repeat, until done.
Cook the ravioli in batches in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Arrange the ravioli in serving bowls or plates. The sauce will take 30 seconds.
Heat the butter in a saute pan. When it starts to foam up, add the poppy seeds and spoon over the pasta and serve with shavings of parmesan.