I’ve been wanting to learn to make pasta for many months and on the weekend I finally bought myself a pasta machine. The impetus stemmed from a recipe idea I developed while travelling home from work on Friday. Upon leaving the office I passed by an independent fruit and vegetable store and caught sight of some fresh beetroot. While musing upon the impossibility of sourcing such produce in supermarkets I struck upon the notion of a beetroot and goats cheese ravioli.
Before attempting my recipe I searched for a cookbook about making pasta. Unfortunately I could find no such thing. The majority focussed on pasta sauces, dedicating only a few pages to the act of making the pasta itself. In the end I resorted to the basic pasta recipe in Cook with Jamie.
6 small beetroot
1 head of garlic
3 sprigs of thyme
250 grams of goats cheese
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt and black pepper
Half a portion of basic pasta dough
100ml strong olive oil
2 tablespoons of baby capers
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Wash the beetroot thoroughly. Top and tail them and cut them in half. Put in a roasting tray with peeled garlic and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and shake the pan to coat. Cover the tray with tin foil and place in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or so. They should be cooked, but firm.
2. Allow the beetroot to cool to room temperature then place in the fridge to cool further. When cold, grate coarsely with the flesh to the blade. The skin will naturally peel away and can be discarded.
3. Crumble the goats cheese into a bowl. The pieces need to be quite small so that each ravioli has a good mix of beetroot and goats cheese. Add the grated beetroot and lemon juice, and season to taste.
4. Roll out a potion of pasta dough into a sheet at the thinnest level, according to instructions. Cut in half widthways at the mid-way point. On one sheet, lightly brush with water then add teaspoons of the filling evenly along the sheet about 4 cm apart. Place the other sheet of pasta on top and press down around the filling, pushing out the air while doing so. Cut the ravioli into square with an appropriate pasta cutter. Place on a floured plate to dry.
5. Repeat until all the filling and dough has been turned into ravioli.
6. While the pasta is drying, make the sauce. Finely dice the shallots and fry in a little olive oil. When they start to become transparent add the capers. Lower to a minimal heat and add the rest of the oil. Leave for about 10 minutes to allow the flavour of the capers to infuse the oil.
7. Toss pasta in sauce and serve.
Making the pasta was very time consuming, but I was really happy with the end result. The filling is really tasty, even if I do say so myself. Next time I might try making it with yolks only to see how this affects the flavour.I might also purée the beetroot to give the filling a smoother texture.