Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Triple Beet Overload

Whenever we go to Washtenaw Dairy, the boy critter chooses a massive scoop of Triple Chocolate Overload. Yesterday, inspired by that name, I made a meal I call Triple Beet Overload.

Beet pasta,
filled with beet greens, walnuts and ricotta,
accompanied by a salad with sliced beets:
For a beet lover like myself, this was more delicious than Triple Chocolate Overload. The pasta had a simple browned butter, crispy sage leaf and poppy seed sauce and the salad was romaine, arugula, beets and cucumber (all from the farm share or farmer's market) in a shallot vinaigrette. I used one generous bunch of beets from the Tantre farm share to make this meal (plus plenty more ravioli for another day): the roots were split between the salad and the puree in the pasta dough and the greens went in the filling.

I made some beet linguine for the critters and the boy critter happily gobbled it down. The girl critter was more reluctant and then I screwed up royally and suggested she pretend the noodles were earthworms, forgetting that this is the child who goes on worm rescue patrol after it rains to save worms. She looked horrified at the mere thought that someone would find eating (pretend) earthworms amusing and that was that; not another noodle passed her lips.

Beet Overload

beet pasta recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
beet green filling recipe adapted from LA Times

Serve with a salad with sliced beets to put it over the top in beety-goodness.

Beet Pasta
about 1/3-1/2 C cooked peeled beets--you can roast or boil them, whichever you prefer
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 t salt
2 C flour, plus more for kneading and rolling

Process the cooked beets in a food processor, scraping down the sides a few times. Add the eggs, yolk and salt and process again, until you don't see any individual beet bits. Add flour and pulse until the dough comes together in a big lump.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, flour the top and knead for about 5 minutes. Then wrap in plastic and let rest for an hour (in the fridge if you plan on longer than an hour).

While the dough rests, make the filling:

Beet Green Filling
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1 generous bunch of beet greens, washed, stems removed and chopped
1/2 C walnuts
1 egg white
1 C whole milk ricotta
1/3 C microplane grated Parmesan (less if you are using coarser grated)
1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

Saute the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, then add the beet greens and cook until thoroughly wilted, at least 5 minutes.

Put the greens in the food processor (yes, you have to wash the darn thing after making the pasta....) add the walnuts and pulse until chopped fine. Transfer greens to a bowl and add the egg white, ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix well and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Now assemble the ravioli:

Cut off a blob of dough that is about 1/5th of the whole and press into a vaguely rectangular shape and lightly flour it. Then run through your pasta roller, dialing down the setting each time. I have a pastry brush dipped in flour that I use to dust it between runs. I run it through twice on the biggest setting and once on all the following settings and I stop at 2 (not the absolute thinnest setting because that makes for very delicate ravioli and I tend to tear them). Repeat until you have used all your dough, or until you have made sufficient ravioli. You can wrap up the rest of the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for a day or two until you have the energy to make some more.

Lay out your looooong rectangle of pasta on a lightly floured surface. Then put 1/2 teaspoons of filling spaced evenly down half the sheet (I usually do it in two rows, but it depends on the size of your ravioli. If you prefer big ones then use a full teaspoon of filling and space them out a bit more). Use a brush dipped lightly in water to moisten the edges of the ravioli then fold the other half of the sheet over the top. Gently press around the lumps of filling to seal it in and then use a knife or pasta cutter to cut the ravioli's apart. Place on a lightly floured board or cookie sheet and dust lightly with a little more flour. Freeze if you don't intend to use immediately or else the pasta will start to absorb the filling and deteriorate. When you are ready to cook, put on a big pot of salted water, have it come to a boil and then toss in the ravioli and cook until they float to the top. Drain and toss with the sauce.

3/4 of a stick of butter
1 T poppy seeds
a good handful of fresh sage leaves

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan then toss in the poppy seeds and sage leaves. Cook until the butter gets slightly nutty colored and then pour the whole shebang over the pasta and serve. Make sure that everyone gets a few sage leaves. If you like, you can shred Parmesan over the top of each serving.


Maggie said...

LOL, the earthworm idea is priceless! It's too bad it didn't work. There will be some earthworm pasta in our house soon. Thanks for the idea!

Sun Runner said...

Ah, beets. I can't believe I never ate them before I started getting my farm share last year. I love them so, greens and all.

I am going to whip up a chocolate beet cake this week using some of my abundant beets!

Jen said...

This sounds perfect. I was saving my beets for batches of borscht, but I think I'm switching my plans.

C wouldn't eat spaghetti for 5 years because his music teacher at Wines taught them some song about spaghetti being made out of worms, or a worm soup song or something...

Tricia said...

I am not much of a beet fan, and was going to offer you mine in this comment, but then I saw the recipe for beet ravioli. Hmm. That might be fun to make... [came here via Kim's blog, but I'm also an AAO parent and my middle critter was in the same class as your boy critter this past year]