Beet Pasta and Cheese Ravioli

Attention! Attention! After nearly four years of food blogging and almost three hundred fifty posts we finally did it! We made fresh pasta! It's something we've always aspired to do but never quite followed through.

In April 2012 we exclaimed our excitement with making our first risotto. We've mentioned from time to time that we keep up with the blog to connect with family and friends but also as a record for our meals. We can easily search the posts for something we've made before and have the recipe at our disposal again quickly. We certainly felt the blogging absent earlier in the year when we were too busy planning a wedding. There were definitely things I wanted to make again and became frustrated when I realized I didn't blog it and couldn't find it again! I'm reminding you of this because we don't view ourselves as expert cooks. Trying something new for the first time is very daunting. But, I imagine, what might be different between you and me (and why we do a food blog) is because we find it exciting! I think it's so much fun to spend time in the kitchen experimenting with a new recipe.

Now, onward to the fresh pasta! I'm not sure why we didn't try a basic pasta to make sure we had the fundamentals of pasta making down but I really wanted to make beet pasta! And so did Patrick! I gave him the option of making beet stuffed ravioli with wonton wrappers (an easy option) or homemade beet pasta with cheese stuffed ravioli (the hard option). He chose the hard option without any input from me.

We followed a recipe from the Eat Live Run blog and have it for you below (my notes are in italics):

Three Cheese Beet Ravioli
   for beet ravioli
3 small/medium beets
4 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
   for three cheese filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper

   Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop off the beet greens and roots from beets. Wrap beets loosely in tin foil and roast for 45 minutes to an hour until tender. After roasting, you'll be able to easily peel the beets (the peel will just slip off). *Whitney note: I usually just cut the skin off* Place beets in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth. Note that the beets will probably still be a little chunky here, and that's okay. Just process them as much as you can so you have a smooth pasta dough.

   Mix in the eggs and continue to process. Then, add the flour, salt and olive oil---mixing until a dough forms. I transferred my beet mixture to my Kitchen Aid mixer for this part, but you could also just knead on the table or mix well with a wooden spoon.

   Now, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the filling. Mix together all filling ingredients and beat until smooth. Set aside.

   It really is easiest to use a pasta maker to roll out the beet ravioli dough. However, you can also use a rolling pin. Just be sure to roll the dough very, very, very thin. It should almost be see-through! Thick dough leads to dense, stone-like ravioli...and no one wants that. *Many thanks to Richard for letting us borrow his pasta maker!*

   Once your dough is rolled out thinly, cut or stamp four inch squares of dough. Place a teaspoon of cheese filling in the center of one of the squares then top with another thin square. Seal edges together with fingers.
   Patrick and I had a little trouble with a ravioli cutter so our method for making ravioli was to lay one rolled beet pasta strip onto the cutting board and the dollop the cheese mixture every 3 inches or so. Then we placed a second rolled beet pasta strip over the first one and pressed around the cheese mixture. Finally we took a fluted pastry cutter and cut out the cheese ravioli squares.

   Drop ravioli in boiling water and cook for only about four minutes. When they float, they're done! Drain and serve immediately.

We served with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan!
We can't wait to make pasta again! We deemed this a success.

Bonus beet fettuccine with extra beet pasta.
We had a lot of fun with our pasta kitchen adventure! I made sure to share this before Christmas since it's a "red" dish and quite festive! 

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