Up until two years ago, I’d never tried a beet. My family wasn’t big on root vegetables, so I wasn’t forced to eat them when I was young. I avoided them when I was older because I imagined they tasted like sweet, hard, dirt-flavored jello. Which isn’t actually that far off, I guess. I just never thought that sweet dirt could be so yummy!
I only became curious about beets after reading Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, which opens as follows:
The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
By the time I was finished with the book, I was convinced I was only detracting from my own vitality and overall awesomeness by not eating beets. So, I went in search of a good recipe, and came upon this. The deep red ravioli looked so amazing; I was sold.
I’m now trying to figure out what made me substitute goat cheese for ricotta. I have no idea. I don’t know what beets and ricotta would taste like together, but it can’t be as good as beets and goat cheese. Seriously. These are unbelievably delicious. After I finished taking these pictures, I started picking ravioli up with my hands and devouring them. They were gone in less than five minutes (and there were twice as many as you see in the pictures). I was eating like such a pig that I started to get that food suffocation feeling in my throat. (You know, when you’ve stuffed food in your face faster than it can actually make its way down your esophagus, and it starts to pile up in your throat. That feeling.)
Beet & Chevre Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter
(adapted from Bon Appétit)
yield: approx. 4 dozen ravioli
- 3 medium-sized red beets
- 4 oz. chèvre (goat cheese)
- 2 batches of egg pasta dough
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 4 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 400°. Pierce beets a few times. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast beets until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let beets sit until they are cool enough to handle. Peel off skin. Grate beets into a bowl or chop with a food processor. Mix in goat cheese.
Divide pasta dough in half (you should have 4 portions altogether). Roll 2 portions into even-shaped rectangles (or run through a pasta crank) until about 1/16 in. thick. Place spoonfuls of filling about an inch apart along one portion of dough. When there is no more room on the dough, dab a little bit of water onto areas between filling (or mist with a spray bottle). Place other portion of dough on top and press to seal. Try to work from the inside out, to avoid air pockets in the ravioli. Cut with a pastry wheel.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add in pasta. Begin heating butter in a pan over medium-high heat. When ravioli have finished cooking (they’re ready once they begin to float), use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to the frying pan. Sprinkle on some poppy seeds and fry until golden on each side. Transfer to a plate. Add some more poppy seeds and freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving. Freeze any ravioli (uncooked) you won’t be using right away.