Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli

With Taylor’s obsession with beets and my obsession with goat cheese, this seemed like the perfect recipe. And I still believe that beets and goat cheese go together like tomato and basil. Creamy and earthy, sweet and tangy. However, I think this particular recipe fell a little short. As much as I loved the herb goat cheese filling, calling it beet ravioli is a bit deceiving, since you really don’t get any beet flavor in the final product. If we do this again, which we probably will if we ever get any more beets, we’d fold some chunks of roasted beet into the filling itself. I think that small addition would bring this dish full circle.

Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli

My other gripe with this recipe is the color. It’s pretty, yes, but it was so much prettier before it was cooked. Martha’s beauty shot of the final dish, with its deep red, almost purple hue, is a lie. In actuality, as the pasta cooks it fades, coming out of the water an almost silly-putty pink. Not red. Still pretty, just not drop dead gorgeous.

Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Makes 4 servings. Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

Dough:
*Note: this will make twice as much dough as you need for the filling. You can easily halve the recipe, or turn the rest of the dough into more ravioli or linguine (what we did). It freezes beautifully!

8 ounces red or golden beets (about 2 medium), without greens
2 teaspoons olive oil
coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Semolina flour, for storage

Filling:
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese (about 6 ounces), drained 30 minutes
3/4 cup fresh goat cheese (about 5 ounces), room temperature
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus some for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme (original recipe called for mint, but we prefer thyme in situations like this. Your preference!)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Semolina flour or fine cornmeal, for dusting
2 tablespoons coarse salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss beets with oil and a large pinch of salt. Wrap tightly in a parchment-lined piece of foil, and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool. Rub beets with paper towels to remove skins. Puree in a food processor (you should have 1/2 cup puree).

Add eggs and yolk to puree in food processor, and process until combined. Add flour and 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds.

Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is sticky. Place on a piece of parchment and cover with an inverted bowl, or wrap tightly in plastic; let rest for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to prepare filling, stir together cheeses and herbs; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut dough into 8 even pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the inverted bowl), flatten dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). Dust dough very lightly with flour, and feed through machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase its elasticity.

Turn the dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through twice, gently supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each setting, until sheet is almost translucent and very thin but still intact (number 5 of 8 on a KitchenAid pasta roller). The dough will stretch to about 16 inches long. If dough bubbles or tears, pass it through again, and dust with flour if the dough is sticking.

Dust a baking sheet with semolina or cornmeal. Work with each sheet of dough just after it's been rolled. Cut sheet in half crosswise, and trim each half to a 3-inch-wide strip. Space tablespoons of filling 3 1/2 inches apart along center of 1 strip. Top with remaining strip, and gently press around filling to seal, working from center out. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut into 3-inch squares. Transfer ravioli to sheet, and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining pasta dough and filling. (To store, lightly dust ravioli with semolina, and refrigerate between layers of parchment in an airtight container for up to 4 hours. Alternatively, freeze ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet, about 15 minutes, and then gently pack into airtight containers or bags; freeze for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before cooking.)

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt and half of the ravioli. Cook, stirring occasionally to separate, until edges are just tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain. Drizzle with oil, and toss gently to coat. Transfer to a bowl, and loosely cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.

Divide ravioli among plates (if first batch has cooled, return them to hot water for 15 seconds, then drain). Spoon brown butter over ravioli. Serve immediately garnished with chives.