I first tried these on the way to a skiing holiday, when we stopped for the night at a small hotel in Switzerland. Hotel – Ristorante Baldi. The hotel was ok, clean and close to the motorway, so it was really all that we needed at that time. The fact that it was family-run gave it a special homy feeling and we very much felt welcome.
The food was amazing! Home made pasta was the best pasta I ever had. Ordering was difficult because the menu was in Italian and the owners didn’t speak much English and we don’t speak Italian at all, so in some cases they brought the products from the kitchen to show us what they are talking about, but even with this we were not absolutely sure of what we will get. Karl took a risk of ordering ravioli with ricotta and beets, even though beets are not at all his thing, he must have been feeling brave that evening. And they were just awesome. The creamy ricotta and a slight taste of beets and the texture of poppy seed was a perfect combination.
Actually I am surprised that the blend of ricotta (or any white cheese) and beets has never been a filling to Polish pierogi, after all, beets, white cheese and poppy seeds are very much used in Polish cuisine. But well, apparently Polish were not as creative?
Anyway, I liked the ravioli so much, that I decided to learn how to make these at home, including learning how to make ravioli. It takes time, but if you have the pasta rolling machine – it’s actually easy and a lot of fun.
Ravioli with ricotta, beets and poppy seed butter
For the ravioli
4 eggs + 1 and 1/2 eggs beaten
5 cups flour and additional for dusting
1/2 cup water
For the filling
1 beetroot (roasted or boiled)
1/2 beaten egg
4 tbs corn flour
salt, pepper to taste
For poppy seed butter
3 tbs poppy seeds
100 g butter
Start with preparing the filling
Chop the beet, add to ricotta and mix it using an immersion blender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add cornstarch and 1/2 bitten egg and blend again.
The filling will be quite liquid, place it in the fridge or even in a freezer before applying it on the pasta to make it thicker and easier to build the ravioli.
Then prepare the pasta
Place eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix them a bit.
Continue mixing and add 4 cups of flour and water until it forms a ball. Add the 5th cup of flour (or part of it) if necessary.
Sprinkle some flour on work surface and kneed the dough a bit more.
Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 5 pieces, take one of these, cover and reserve the rest.
Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into more or less a rectangle.
Run the dough through a pasta machine 2-3 times at the widest setting.
Reduce the setting and run the dough again until it is 2-3 mm thin. I only went down to setting 3, otherwise the dough was too thin.
Place the dough on floured surface and cut out circles (or other shapes if you like).
Assembling the raviolis
Place the circles by twos, apply a teaspoon of filling on one circle.
Brush the other one with egg wash and place over the first one.
Remove any air that is inside and cramp the edges together.
Repeat until you used up all the dough.
Melt the butter in a small pan.
Place ravioli in large pan full of boiling salted water and take them out whenever they start to float.
When serving pour some melted butter on top and sprinkle with poppy seeds.