Recently, this crazy craving for ravioli seized my soul. You know the universe is having a hiccup when I crave Italian food. It's not that I don't like Mediterranean food, but after working in Italian restaurants from the ages of 15 to 22- one needs a break. A serious break. I avoided Italian cooking for years and it wasn't until the husband dropped, "by the way, I love chicken fettuccine alfredo" did I entertain the idea of making it my own kitchen.
As with most foreign cuisine, it's extremely difficult to find a restaurant that reflects their true native flavor. The American version of pizza, for example, has a ton more cheese and grease than what you'd find overseas. The Armetta family taught me well as a waitress in their mom and pop style restaurant in Woodbridge, VA. Some of the best flavors were not even on the menu but shared in the back on a slow week day shift. Customers would come in and challenge the cook with a "real" Italian dish that wasn't on the menu like frutti di mar pizza. No funny business- I've rolled with Sicilians.
After some mediocre raviolis at Carrbbas (no offense- love the grilled chicken), it became clear that matters had to be taken into my own hands. The sheer thought of making pasta dough is exhausting. We don't have a big food processor because our kitchen is already a tight squeeze nor is there a pasta roller. It's fore arms, a rolling pin, and a big, floury mess all over my favorite t-shirt (as demonstrated above). Hence, my dough is rolled out a little too thick. Ah well!
The fates recognized my predicament and sent two gifts: a beautiful recipe from The Italian Dish and a ravioli mold pan (thanks big brother!) for my birthday. Talk about serendipitous.
This recipe for Beet Raviolis filled with Parmesan and Goat Cheese is fantastic. I was extremely impressed with the unique and creative flavor profile. The dough incorporates three roasted beets that are then pureed to mush. The amount of flour to beet ratio is a bit of a guessing game because there are no approximate measurements; add the flour slowly to the point that it's still just a little sticky. If you're roller is sticking to the dough, rub the roller down with flour- not the actual dough. Too much flour and it will dry it; this had me paranoid at first and I was treating the dough as if it were made of glass. It's pasta- just go to town. The taste of beet is very subtle and it gives raviolis a stunning rustic hue.
As for the filling, it's a simple combination of cheese, a single egg, and some chives. You can make this filling ahead of time and leave it in the fridge until the time is ready (sans chives, don't let them wilt). Topped with roasted hazelnuts and chives, these raviolis are classy and elegant. I'm head over heals!
For the recipe, check out The Italian Dish's lovely blog! It's full of tempting recipes, culinary insights, and mouth-watering photography! Thanks Elaine for sharing!