Making Beet-Pumpkin Ravioli
I made my first pasta when I was in the 7th grade. It was on a Saturday after I watched a segment of Cucina Valentina on the E! Channel. I watched her made the pasta (tagliatelle it was, if I remember correctly) from scratch on her marbled counter, outdoors. She said the only way to make pasta is on a counter, not on some bowl or container. I watched her beat the eggs and made a well in the center of the flour and marveled at how quickly she worked the flour into the eggs and how it transformed into a bowl of yellowish dough. Watched how she fed the dough into the pasta machine and rolled it with such fervor. I was mesmerized.
I, ofcourse, did not make mine on the counter (though our house did have a marbled one). I made a well in my flour, inside a mixing bowl. Pour the beaten eggs into the center, gathered the flour with a fork and watched (with unbelieving eyes) as it forms a ball of dough. Then I too fed it through my mother’s pasta machine (though she never used it to make pasta). I made a pile of tagliatelle which I boiled and served with a beef burger-ketchup “bolognaise”. It was pure bliss.
So here’s 8 years later, with yet another pasta-making session. This time it’s colored burgundy by a beetroot. Don’t be put off by the colour, the taste it pretty unchanged. Stuffed with buttery pumpkin and served with browned butter sauce on top of a bed of blanched asparagus, this will pretty much make your day :)
[ 1 fist-sized (230g) beetroot + 380g all-purpose flour + 3 eggs + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tsp salt ]
Cut the greens off. Wash the beetroot.
Boil beetroot in salted (with 1 tsp olive oil) water until fork tender, about 30 mins.
Looks a bit like something from a Goosebump series.
Once fork tender, take the beetroot off the heat and give it a rinse. Then peel the skin and cut into cubes
Put into a food processor and pulse for a minute or two
Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Add in the 2 eggs
Blitz until smooth
Dump the flour onto a working surface or a counter. If you feel a bit intimidated, I suggest using a mixing bowl. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Make a well in the centre of the flour
Pour the beetroot mixture/puree into the centre
Crack in the last egg. Now at this point, all you’ll think about is how much of an ungodly mess this is. But persevere and you will be rewarded!
Beat the mixture and quickly gather the flour into the centre with a fork
Incorporate the flour as fast as you can. Then use your hand to knead and incorporate the last bits of flour. Set dough aside, covered with damp cloth to prevent it from drying.
Butternut Squash Filling:
[ 1 medium sized pumpkin (or any kind of squash) + 3 cloves of garlic + 3 shallots + 1 tablespoon grated strong cheddar cheese + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp nutmeg + 1 tsp salt + 1 tsp olive oil ]
Half the pumpkin
Scoop out the seeds (seeds can be saved for roasting!)
Rub pumpkin halves with olive oil and salt
Put them cut-side down on a baking tray and put in the oven at 170 degrees C for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the shallots and garlic and sautee until soft in some olive oil
When the pumpkin halves are tender when pierced with a knife, take them out. Wait for them to cool slightly and scoop out the flesh.
Add in the rest of the ingredients (shallots, garlic, cheese, salt, nutmeg & cinnamon)
Making the Ravioli:
Since I don’t own a pasta machine in my current place, I had to make do with a rolling pin. The Italians said that when you’re making (or rolling) pasta properly, you should work up a layer of sweat on your back. That just made me LOL. But yes, it is hard work.
If you do own a pasta machine, then:
- 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.
- 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.
If you don’t own one, then do what I did. Roll that dough until very, very thin. As thin as you can.
Then measure out your preferred size of raviolis and cut the dough into strips.
Spoon 1 tsp of filling for each ravioli
Dust the ravioli to prevent them from sticking to one another
If you’re planning to have some rightaway, then boil in some salted water for about 5-7 mins.
[ 3 tablespoons of butter + 2 shallots + 1 tsp oregano (dried or fresh) ]
Brown the butter slowly over low heat, throw in the shallots and sautee until soft. Then add in the oregano and the ravioli.
Serve on top of some blanched asparagus spears