Friday, July 6, 2007

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter

First we were on a little vacation (but that doesn't mean we didn't eat) and then I was a bit under the weather... so my posts have been piling up! I'll try to double-post the next few days to catch up!

This month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge, created by Sara at I Like to Cook, is Red and White:

So grab a recipe that has a red or white ingredient. Or use a cookbook with a red cover. Or cook a recipe by Betty White!
I made this dish last Saturday night. We'd gotten a bunch of beets in our CSA shipment the Wednesday before, so this seemed like the ideal entry. I'd looked though my cookbooks and over the internet for a good-looking beet recipe. This was important because I'd only cooked with beets once before, and they played a bit part in a wine sauce. I really wanted the beets to be the star of the show.

Doing so was a gamble, because I'd never really had beets before (the canned variety frightened me). Dave didn't have much experience with them either, so this was a big deal. The comments section of the recipe stressed the importance of the poppy seeds, too, so I made sure to grab some from the store.

What can I tell you about this dish....? I roasted the beets the evening before (with the zucchini and radishes) so I saved time on Saturday. The filling and dough were both really easy to make. Either I didn't make enough filling, or else the dough just makes twice as much, so I had lots extra egg pasta (which you'll see again soon in another ravioli recipe).

I will say that I really almost enjoyed the filling pre-stuffing it into the ravioli. But I think this dish is maybe better suited to being an appetizer or beginning pasta course... because the earthiness became too much after a while. Unless, of course, you love beets. If this is you, then make this pasta. If you have beet-loving family or friends, invite them over, because this dish is very pleasing to the eye... just.... beetly overpowering. O, and the poppy seeds really were key, as they provided a nice crunch to each bite.

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter
Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2005

2 large red or golden beets (about 14 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
1 1/4 pounds Fresh Egg Pasta

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil; place on baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Open foil carefully (steam will escape). Cool. Peel beets; finely grate into medium bowl. Add ricotta cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs.

Roll Fresh Egg Pasta dough into sheets according to recipe. Place 1 dough sheet on work surface. Using 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut sheet into 7 rounds. Transfer rounds to lightly floured baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough for total of 56 rounds.

Sprinkle 2 smooth kitchen towels with flour. Place 8 pasta rounds on work surface, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic. Place small bowl of water next to work surface. Spoon 1 teaspoon beet filling onto half of each round. Dip fingertip into water and dampen edge of 1 round. Fold dough over filling, pushing out as much air as possible and pressing edges firmly to seal. Transfer to prepared towels. Repeat with remaining rounds. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen solid, about 6 hours. Transfer ravioli to resealable plastic bags.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and stir in poppy seeds; keep warm. Working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until cooked through, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to skillet with melted butter; toss to coat. Divide ravioli among 8 plates; sprinkle with Parmesan.

Market Tip
The flavor, color, and texture of roasted fresh beets is incomparable, so don't even consider using the canned variety. When choosing beets, select bunches with bright, glossy leaves attached.

Makes 8 first-course servings.


Nora B. said...

Looks and sounds delicious, and something different than the norm. I've never cooked with beet before either, so I'm interested to try this, and take your suggestion to have this as a starter.

Sara said...

Those are so pretty. Thanks for taking part in WCC, great recipe!

kellypea said...

Beautiful dish. I love the color (Duh!) Funny, I recently made beets for the first time, too. Yellow and red. They were gorgeous. I couldn't get my guys to eat them, though. So sad!