Yesterday, aforementioned housemate bought a bunch of beetroot for £1 from the '£1 a bowl' man on the corner. I gave them a good wash before drying them and putting them in a roasting pan on a bed of sea salt and thyme stalks I had dried in a cupboard. This was fully enclosed with a foil lid and popped into the oven at 180C for about 45 minutes. The beetroot need to be cooked until they are tender so check them from 30 minutes onwards as their size will affect cooking times.
Once they were cooked I left them to cool with the foil still on the tray, allowing them to steam as this makes the skins much easier to remove - when they're cool enough to handle, that is, and wearing rubber gloves! Once they were cool I blitzed them in my food processor with seasoning and a little cream cheese I needed to use up to make a purée. I should mention at this point that some of my beetroot a turned out to be golden, and others pink, so I decided to make not one purée but two, in different colours. I kept a couple of little beetroots back for later.
Then I got onto making pasta. I bought a box of mixed weight free range eggs for £1 and beat two larger ones together. Once clean and dry, I used the food processor to blitz 200g of type 00 flour I need to use up on the cupboard with a good couple of pinches of salt. Then, with the motor running, I drizzled in the beaten egg just until the mixture looked like couscous. You will probably need to use all of the egg. If it clumps together, add a little more flour. You can mix it together by hand as well. Once you have the mix, knead it for 10minutes before leaving it to rest wrapped in cling film for half an hour; if it feels too dry, leave it to rest with a damp tea towel covering it instead.
After half an hour, you're ready to roll! I have a pasta machine at home I bought for less than €20 on holiday in France that has served my needs fine, but if not you can roll it out by hand with a rolling pin. Dust surfaces with flour before you start and keep extra pasta covered with a damp cloth. Extra pasta sheets need to be dusted with semolina while you work on filling the others.
I worked out the sizing of my ravioli and used piping bags to pipe beetroot filling onto a sheet of pasta before carefully laying another sheet on top so that the edges matched together.
Then I used the blunt edges of a small cookie cutter to 'seal' the filling in the middle of the ravioli and cut them out with a larger one - but you could equally use a knife.
I put a large pan of salted water on to boil while I made a mint butter by melting a large knob of butter in a pan until it sizzled before adding wedges of the cooked beetroot I'd kept back. Once these had browned I added finely shredded mint leaves from the garden.
The ravioli take about 2 minutes to cook and can then be tossed in or drizzled with the butter - which would also work well with toasted pine nuts. Tonserve, I alternated the ravioli with the different colour fillings and piped on top some of the beetroot purées. Beautiful to eye and to palate!
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