This Venetian take on a classic stuffed pasta dish is simply divine for autumn. Ravioli were first mentioned in writings by the 14th century Venetian merchant, Francesco di Marco, yet, in a separate manuscript, Libro per cuoco, they are discussed as made of herbs, eggs and fresh cheese. Beet root was known to have been eaten in antiquity, but it was described by a publicist of newly imported products in France, Olivier de Serres, as ‘a very red, rather fat root with leaves like swiss chard, all of which is good to eat.’ Contemporary eateries rarely serve the leaves, but the earthy flavour of the root itself pairs perfectly with the rich buttery sauce and sharp goat cheese. The addition of poppy seeds adds a further texture to the filling – and, perhaps suggest a nod to the spice trade through Venice that lasted until the mid 15th century?
Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli
3 large beets
½ cup/70 g poppy seeds
100 g goat cheese
fresh egg pasta
2 tbl chopped parsley
chopped sage (or rosemary)
- Make the pasta dough following this process: Fresh Pasta. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest.
- Wash and wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven (350 F/ 176 C) for 45 min or until fork tender. Peel the beets while still warm, chop them into slices and put them in a medium bowl.
- Add in the goat cheese, poppy seeds and parsley and puree using a hand blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the ravioli: roll out the pasta dough as thinly as possible and cut two rectangles of equal size. Put small quantities of the filling in rows on one side of the rectangles about 4 cm apart and moisten the dough between the filling with a wet fingertip. Cut down and across the rows using a ravioli cutter, producing small envelopes of the dough enclosing the filling. Dry in a cool place for a few hours and cook in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
- Melt butter and sage (or rosemary for a stronger flavour) in a large saute pan. Add in the cooked ravioli and toss with Parmesan cheese.