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Beet Ravioli with ricotta and goat cheese filling

 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and this recipe is perfect for winning over the hearts (and stomachs) of your loved ones. Or just treat yourself to a special home made meal. You deserve it! The ravioli dough is made with beets, although it hardly retains any of the beet flavor. But it does look rather festive, and was a good way for me to salvage some of the beets I had dreadfully overcooked this past weekend. You see, I planned to make pickled beets and I placed the beets to cook atop the stove in a pot of water. I like to undercook beets since they get cooked a bit more in the pickling process, and I prefer some “bite” to the finished product. But I left the house to see the HD performance of “Carmen” live from the Met, and forgot about the pot simmering on the stove. I didn’t realize it until nearly three hours later, well after Carmen entices Don Jose with her guiles, but before he gets his revenge on the alluring gypsy.

You know it’s verboten to phone or text in the theater during a performance, but I covered by head and torso with my jacket and texted my husband to ask him to immediately drain the water from the beets. Thank goodness for husbands who are loyal to their alma mater and stay home to watch the basketball game on TV. Go Pirates!

I know it could have been avoided had I roasted the beets, but I always have trouble peeling beets when I roast them. Besides, I might have forgotten them in the oven and come home to dehydrated, or worse, burnt spheres of my favorite root vegetable.

So anyway, here I was with lots of mushy beets to use up. I’ve always wanted to try making pasta with beets so this gave me the perfect excuse. Let’s get started.

Whiz the beets in a food processor until smooth.

Add the eggs, flour and other ingredients. I used 00 flour, the kind that Italians traditionally use for making pasta. If you don’t have it, use regular flour, or add some semolina flour to regular flour. However, it’s easy enough to find 00 flour online, if you don’t have an Italian grocery store, or specialty food shop near you.

The dough is stickier than normal pasta dough – possibly because of those darn overcooked and water-logged beets of mine. So I had to knead in a little more flour on the wooden board. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least an hour.

I placed the dough through the pasta machine, spreading a little more flour over the dough each time I passed it through a different thickness. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the heart shapes.

Place a tablespoon of filling over each heart and then using your finger, or a small paint brush, brush a little water around the perimeter of each one. By the way, the goat cheese adds a nice tang to the ricotta and the lemon zest brings a nice “brightness” to it. Don’t skimp on the fresh thyme or the grating of nutmeg either. It’s a delicious combination of flavors.

Cover with a second piece of the pasta, and crimp the edges with a fork.

This dough recipe makes enough for about four dozen ravioli, but frankly, I was getting hungry and wanted to get moving with dinner. So I stopped at about two dozen ravioli and made fettuccine with the rest of the dough. I had some leftover filling, but I’ll use it in a frittata.

Boil the ravioli in abundant, salted water. These were ready in only three or four minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter, and add the thyme and hazelnuts. When the ravioli are cooked, transfer them with a slotted spoon or spider to the pan with the butter and hazelnuts. Don’t drain the pasta really well; It’s good if a little water comes along to add to the sauce.

Carefully spoon the pasta into a heated dish and sprinkle some parmesan cheese over everything.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

 

Click here to find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more).

Image result for hearts

Beet Ravioli with ricotta and goat cheese filling
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta - First Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3-4 dozen ravioli
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PASTA:
  • two medium beets (or about 8 ounces pureed beets)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • about 2½ cups 00 flour
  • salt, to taste
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese, drained (preferably overnight)
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • salt, pepper and the grating of a bit of fresh nutmeg
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
  • parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. TO MAKE THE PASTA:
  2. Cook the beets, either by boiling or roasting.
  3. Once they are cool, remove the skin and puree the beets in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add the salt, and eggs to the beet puree in the food processor, then start adding the flour a little at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the food processor bowl.
  5. Remove it onto a well-floured board and knead until smooth and it loses its "stickiness."
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least an hour.
  7. TO MAKE THE FILLING:
  8. Drain the ricotta overnight or at least an hour, to remove some of the water.
  9. Place the cheeses and other ingredients in a food processor and mix.
  10. MAKING AND ASSEMBLING THE RAVIOLI:
  11. Cut the dough into four parts and work with one of the pieces, keeping the rest covered.
  12. Run the dough through the pasta machine, flattening and flouring each piece as you go along. Start with the widest setting , dusting the dough each time you feed it through a narrower setting.
  13. On my KitchenAid pasta machine, I stopped at the number four setting.
  14. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes, then fill with a tablespoon of the cheese filling.
  15. Moisten the edges of the pasta, then place another heart shaped pasta piece on top of the filling.
  16. Crimp the edges with a fork.
  17. Drop into boiling, salted water and cook until the pasta is al dente. For me, this took only about three to four minutes.
  18. TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
  19. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan, add the thyme and the hazelnuts.
  20. When the pasta is cooked, using a slotted spoon or "spider" drop them into the pan with the butter and hazelnuts.
  21. Don't worry if the pasta is not totally drained. A little water is needed to help make the sauce.
  22. After all the ravioli are in the saucepan, gently toss them to disperse the butter, nuts and thyme.
  23. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Endive Stuffed With Blood Oranges, Goat Cheese And Candied Walnuts

Endive Stuffed with blood oranges, goat cheese and candied walnuts

There once was a woman from Princeton
Who ate too much brie cheese and Stilton.
The time had drawn near
For a purge – it was clear.
Or else jog each day for a long run.

Ban cheese from her diet she could not
So she just tried to eat not a whole lot.
It was always a strain,
She’d be wracking her brain.
All this dieting is just so much bad rot!

Then “Cooking Light” printed this good one.
Which she made with delight – it was so fun!
Candied walnuts, goat cheese
And blood oranges, jeez!
In a recipe that’s a real home run.

The walnuts are sugared, I know this
But you can use plain. (Oh yea, boo hiss.)
Either way it’s tastes great
And looks nice on the plate.
So serve to your guests dear, you can’t miss.

OK, so Robert Frost I’m not. Here’s the important part – the recipe:

Endive leaves
goat cheese
blood orange sections (or regular orange sections or even canned mandarin orange sections)
candied walnuts (purchased or home made)
balsamic vinegar reduction (see below)
chopped chives

Separate endive leaves. Break up goat cheese into bits and put a little inside each endive leaf. Next take some candied walnuts broken into bits and blood orange sections and place inside endive leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic vinegar reduction (take some balsamic vinegar – about 1/2 cup – add 2 T. honey and cook until reduced and syrupy) Sprinkle chopped chives over all and serve.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese And Mushrooms

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms

This dish is terrific for when company’s coming. It tastes great, and it looks like you slaved all day in the kitchen. Don’t tell anyone, but it takes only 15 minutes to assemble. Then you’re home free.

Get everything prepared ahead of time, set it aside or keep it in the fridge until guests arrive. Then pop the pan in the oven and go chill out with your guests. Twenty minutes later, your main course is ready to serve. What could be simpler? But don’t wait for company to come calling to make this dish. It’s great any night of the week.

For two large servings:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 medium -size white mushrooms, finely minced
1 T. butter
goat cheese, about 3 ounces
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper
minced parsley

Open up the chicken breasts and pound with a mallet to flatten. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Saute the finely minced mushrooms in the 1 tablespoon of butter until cooked and liquid has evaporated – about two minutes or so. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms over the chicken breast, then divide the goat cheese evenly between the two breasts. Roll from the narrow end toward the wider end. Tie loosely with twine.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy, oven-proof skillet. I used a small, cast-iron skillet. Over medium high heat, brown the chicken rolls on all sides. This should only take five minutes max. Lower heat and slowly add the white wine. Don’t add too quickly or over high heat or it could flame up. Season with salt and pepper and minced parsley.
Place an oven-proof lid on the skillet and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove string and serve with juices from pan.