Beet & Chèvre Ravioli Hearts

Ha! Look at these silly things. (They’re pretty adorable, aren’t they?)

Cutsey-wootsy relationship stuff—usually not my thing. Pet names? Ick. Public affection? No way.  (One of my boyfriend’s favorite ways to torment me is to try to hold my hand in public, then laugh as I uncomfortably squirm away.) But there’s just something about over-the-top food that I can’t resist! I’ve been making a delicious beet & chèvre ravioli for a couple years now. And I’ve happened upon a few posts for beet pasta in the past that involve squeezing beet juice directly into the dough. I started thinking about that pretty bright red dough recently, and a little heart-shaped cookie cutter just happened to find its way into my shopping basket a few days later. My fate was sealed. These cute ravioli were so happening.

The beauty of this dish is that it can be made well in advance, so you don’t have to spend an entire day dealing with roasting beets and making pasta dough, while also trying to find time to curl your hair, touch up your nails, and pick out the perfect outfit. And boys—not to exclude you—this will leave you plenty of time to buy flowers and google how to set a table. (I’d actually probably have to google that too . . .) Just make them sometime in the next few weeks, then stick them in the freezer until it’s almost dinner time! As I’m writing this I’m actually convincing myself that this is the best Valentine’s Day dinner idea ever. No need to cook all day, or bother with reservations so you can sit in a restaurant packed with other couples. This year, say it with pasta!

Beet & Chèvre Ravioli Hearts

yield: approximately 2 ½ dozen ravioli

Dough

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • around ⅓ to ½ cup of beet juice

Filling

  • 3 large beets (approx. 1 ½ lbs.)
  • 4 oz. of chèvre (herbed, preferably)
  • 1–2 tbsp of water
  • salt, to taste

Roast the beets:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the beets a few times, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until beets are tender. Remove from the oven and let cool, then peel.

Prepare the filling:

Ready your food processor* with the grater attachment. Chop the beets in half or thirds (whatever will fit), then grate. Switch to the chopping blade. Add a tablespoon or two of water, then pulse until everything is finely chopped.

* If you don’t have a food processor, grate the beets, then finely chop them with a sharp knife. Transfer them to a bowl, then add the water and stir.

Transfer beets to a piece of cheesecloth. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, a gold filter or fine sieve should work as well.) Squeeze the beets over a large measuring cup or bowl, until you have ⅓ to ½ a cup of juice. (The beet-filled cheesecloth actually kind of looked like a human heart by the time I was done with it, and my kitchen looked like the scene of a murder. If you’re anti-Valentine’s Day but pro-gross things, consider making these just for the sheer amusement of squeezing bright red juice out of something that’s reminiscent of an organ.) My apologies to anyone I just totally grossed out. (And a beet-stained high five to my kindred spirits.)

Transfer the remaining beet pulp to a bowl. Stir in the chèvre until evenly-distributed, then add salt to taste. Set aside.

To make the dough:

Add flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the yolks and the beet juice, then stir to combine. When you can no longer mix with a fork, turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until smooth.

Assembly:

Roll the dough out into a large, even rectangle approximately 1/16 of an inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half.

Grab about a tablespoon of filling (or whatever will work best for the size of cookie cutter you’re using) and mold it into a heart shape. Arrange filling hearts about an inch apart from each other until you’ve covered half of the dough (there should be some filling left over).

Dot a little bit of water around the edges of the filling, then place the other half of the dough rectangle on top and press to seal. Using your cookie cutter, cut out each ravioli. Pull up the dough trim from around the ravioli, knead until the smooth, then cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside.

Gently remove each ravioli from the counter (they may resist a little, depending on how sticky your dough is). Press around the edges with a fork to seal, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. When you’ve finished, reroll the remaining dough and fill with the remaining filling.

If you are preparing these ahead, transfer the cookie sheet to the freezer and let sit until the ravioli have frozen, then place them in a heavy-duty ziploc bag. (If you are going to be cooking them immediately, follow the directions below.)

Note: One of the issues that I discovered while preparing these for today’s photoshoot is that the beautiful bright red color of the dough tends to leach out into boiling water. I actually decided to try steaming a second batch, just to see if they’d hold their color better. The result was a slightly brighter ravioli, but they were also a little bit chewier and not nearly as good. Then several hours after this post went live, I received some great advice from Gerry over at Gewoon Lekker Gewoon. She’d made a similar dish last year, and experienced the same disappointment of beautiful red ravioli that had turned an icky washed-out mauve color after cooking. Her solution: boil them in beet juice! If you’re going to juice the beets yourself, you will want to do so right before you’re ready to cook the ravioli (as Gerry mentions also dealing with less-vibrant juice from the day before). If you don’t have access to a juicer, getting enough beet juice for boiling is going to be a bit of a pain. I’d suggest getting as much juice as you can out of some beets, then mixing it with just enough water to cook the ravioli in. And if you don’t want to go the beet juice route at all, just keep a careful eye on them while boiling, and remove them as soon as they begin to float.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and boil until they just begin to float. Now normally, I’d suggest pan-frying these in a little bit of butter after they’ve finished cooking, but that may also detract a little bit from the color. If you keep a close watch and only fry them for less than a minute on each side, they should be fine. If you don’t want to risk it, then just serve them as is (and maybe garnish with some parmesan or poppy seeds).

Lots of ♥ :)

Comments

    • says

      Thanks, Becca! We have a new vendor at our winter farmers’ market that sells fresh and dried pasta, and they put all sorts of things in the dough (butternut squash, hot peppers, etc.)—totally inspired me to give it a try myself!

  1. says

    What a brilliant idea. I’m a self professed beetroot and goat’s cheese addict, and we do love dumplings of all sorts so this is right up our alley… I think I may make these for Valentine’s day actually! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. sharon says

    These are absolute genius!! Will definitely try these for Valentine’s Day! So, I was just thinking, instead of boiling them in the beet juice to retain that bright red, as you suggested, perhaps paintbrushing or dipping them in beet juice and then setting them to dry or bake for a few minutes would work too!

    • says

      Thank you, Sharon! I really like the idea of giving them a quick little dip in beet juice after the fact. I don’t see how that wouldn’t work, considering that beet juice will stain pretty much anything it touches! :)

    • says

      Hi Dawn! I think ricotta would be a good substitute for goat cheese in these ravioli. Also, maybe consider throwing a little bit of sharp cheddar in the mix? It’s not really a typical ravioli cheese, but I absolutely love beets and cheddar together. And I think they need something a bit more flavorful to stand up to their strong, earthy flavor, which isn’t necessarily something ricotta can do on it’s own. Good luck!

    • says

      Thanks, Jules! I’ve become a beet addict over the years, and I really love how they taste in pasta. I even made an extra batch of beet juice pasta dough, so I can see how detectable that yummy beet flavor is in regular linguini. :)

  3. says

    These look amazing, Carey. I think though, when I make them, Im going to use super thinly sliced beets or maybe even beet-dyed parsnips as the containers, and then bake them- I harbor no illusions about getting faux pasta to stick together and stay that way at a boil.

    Your site is fantastic! Im definitely going to have to keep an eye on what youre up to over here. Thanks for the terrific idea.

  4. Melissa says

    This is really great, and I love that you respond to comments on your site. Make them (even more) enjoyable to read, and your kindness is palpable! Keep up the great work, really great site.

    • says

      Thank you, Melissa! I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and I still get really excited about comments. :) Sometimes it takes a bit of self-control to come up with something coherent, instead of just responding, “yaaaaaay!!!”

  5. silmi says

    nice inspiration for me who adore pasta.. will try to make this for my family.

    questions:

    1. my father is a vegetarian, do you have any ideas for the egg yolks exchange?? (for the pasta dough)?

    2. beside beets (which rare to find in my country), are there any other fruits or veggies that i can use to replace it?

    thank you so much ^^

    • says

      Hi Silmi! As far as the pasta dough goes, if you use semolina (or durum) flour instead of all-purpose, it will bind properly with just water/liquid and eliminate the use for egg. As for replacing the beets, that’s a tricky one! The only thing I can think of that might still give the dough the same bright red color would be pomegranate juice. I’m not sure how much that would alter the taste of the dough, however. If the pomegranate flavor really comes through, they might work better with some sort of sweet filling, and served as some sort of a dessert ravioli. I am actually totally intrigued by this idea now. Do let me know if you have any more questions/ideas on how to make this work (or let me know how they turn out when you make them)!

  6. says

    Holy WHOA! I’m making these right now (took a break from dough-rolling to give you the mad propers) and they are coming together beautifully!

    I wanted to make a special Valentine’s Day dinner for my kids and this is just perfect. Mine aren’t turning out as red as yours, but pink is OK. The filling is to DIE for — I may just eat spoons full of that for the next day or two (cheers to having extra!)

    Thanks for the recipe, for your site, and for being so active in your responses. That gets a “YAAAAAAAAAY!” from me.

    • says

      Awesome! Thanks so much, Melissa. :) I’m excited to break out the batch I’ve had hiding the back of my freezer for the past couple weeks! And I could totally just eat the filling on its own. I usually have to a very conscious effort to not do so whenever I make this type of ravioli . . . I’ve definitely wound up with extra pasta dough after an unbridled pig-out!

  7. Tihana says

    Beautifull dish!! Thanx so much for inspiration. i want to do something for my love this year and I´ve foun your blog…great picture and a great dish!! ;-)

    Greeting from Croatia!!

    Tixy

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  1. [...] Beet and Chèvre Ravioli Hearts This is by far the most original Valentine’s Day idea I have come across! Petite Kitchenesse caught my eye and won my heart with these adorable beet and chèvre raviolis…you’ve got to see them for yourself! tags: beets, Best of the Web, cookies, desserts, doughnuts, jello shots, ravioli, red velvet, Valentine's Day var addthis_pub="harvardcommonpress"; var addthis_brand = "HCP"; [...]

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