Ingredients for the ravioli: 300gr organic white flour, 2 medium eggs, 100gr beetroot puree / bay leaves and unsalted butter to serve
Seasoning: ½ tsp Himalaya sea salt
Ingredients for the filling: 200gr Italian ricotta
Seasonings: pinch of Himalaya sea salt, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp ground black pepper
The pasta journey continues and this time it’s going to be a very colourful one. Last weekend I found out that I had a bunch of beetroot in my fridge and their were nearly expiring … of course I could have made a beet carpaccio or a beet salad, but I decided to make something more satisfying and appealing: beetroot home made ravioli with ricotta filling.
I have made my own pasta several times, but it really takes time and I won’t deny that it would be much more easier to have the proper rolling machine instead of doing it manually, but that’s the fun of it I suppose. At least I can say that I felt like one of those typical Italian mammas who used to stay all Sunday in the morning in the kitchen (they still do, actually, especially in the South and in smaller towns).
Pasta the fun way
Coloured pasta is not new to our traditional Italian cuisine and I have been a huge fan ever since I tasted the most delicious ‘black spaghetti’ with sea food, freshly cooked by my dad, and it’s one of these delicacies that I enjoy from time to time. I use the word delicacy because this kind of pasta is not really to be found in your everyday supermarket. You’ll have to go to gourmet shops or to Italian delis to buy them. If you live in London you can go to Valentina Fine Foods.
One thing to bear in mind is that coloured pasta is not made with artificial colours, nope. The colour comes from other ingredients, whether it is a vegetable or a powerful spice, that are added to the dough. You can easily play around with them and even mix them and that would give you a non-conventional dish that surely will surprise your guests. And of course that will give an award for the best cook in the world, yay!
I have gathered a short list of the most common coloured pasta along with its main ingredient and few suggestions on which sauces would go well with.
- Black pasta –> squid liquid (seafood spaghetti or mare e monti)
- Red pasta –> tomato concentrate / chili (basic tomato sauce with grated parmigiano)
- Green pasta –> spinach (ricotta or spinach and nuts pesto)
- Dark yellow pasta –> saffron / turmeric (burro e salvia, i.e. butter and bay leaves)
- Orange pasta –> carrots / pumpkin (with courgette and crispy bacon)
- Purple / pink –> beetroot (ricotta cheese and mint)
- Brown –> dark cacao powder (nut cream white truffle oil)
Making your own pasta is a very satisfying process, however it requires also a fair amount of time, meaning that if you are in a rush, I wouldn’t advice this recipe. It is perfect to do on a Sunday morning with kids, if you have them, and just enjoying every single moment of it.
the 5 senses method:
makes approximately 20 / 24 ravioli
- Sift in the flour in a huge bowl. Add the eggs and the beetroot puree (I have used organic cooked beetroot this time and blended them until I reached the desired creamy consistency).
- Knead all the ingredients firm and persistently until you form a smooth ball of dough. If it is too wet and sticky, add more flour. Cover with a cling form and set aside at room temperature for at least one hour.
- Prepare the filling: add thyme, salt and pepper to the ricotta cheese and fold to combine. Adjust as per your taste.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts and start by rolling one portion – all the rest should be covered with a cloth so that it doesn’t dry. You should be able to flatten each portion to at least 1 / 2 cm thick and to obtain a rectangular shape. By using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of the ricotta and place it along the lower part of the dough, making sure that each filling is widely apart from the other. Once this is completed, fold the sheet over and press down to seal. Use a ravioli cutter or any other form of stamp – I used an espresso small cup – to slice the dough into equal parts.
- Cooking procedure: Add the freshly made ravioli to boiling water with salt and with a tbsp of olive oil and cook for few minutes until all the ravioli will come on the surface. Serve immediately by adding small knobs of unsalted butter and bay leave.