Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dandelion Filled Beet Ravioli

We made ravioli out of the ingredients from this week's box. This was no ordinary pasta night at the farm, so don't think we're the idyllic DYI farm house making homemade pasta every night. We're not. It was time consuming, but totally fun and we used up 1/2 the ingredients from the CSA in one go. Here's what we used: Beets (for the pasta), Dandelion Greens, Fennel, Leeks, Chard (for the filling), Parsley (for the sauce). If you make the dough and the filling a few hours ahead then the main work of rolling out the pasta and making the ravioli happens just before dinner.

Ingredients For the Filling
2 Tbsp Olive oil or butter
Dandelion Greens, 1 bunch chopped
Chard, 1 bunch chopped
Fennel, 1 bulb finely chopped
Leeks, 1 or 2 finely diced
Cheese of your choice (blue or gorgonzola goes nicely with the bitter greens)
Salt and pepper to taste

(Prepare the filling ahead and let it cool)
Sauté the leeks and fennel in the butter or oil on medium- low heat to caramelize. (you could add a dash of white wine or balsamic reduction)
Add the chopped greens and cook until softened. The longer you cook your dandelion, the less bitter.
Mix the sautéed veggies with the cheese (we used a food processor) and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Pasta
(make ahead, it will need to rest for 2 hours)
Beets (1/2 cup, 2-3 beets)
2 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Semolina flour, for storage

Boil the beets until soft, drain, peel and purée
Add eggs and yolk to purée and process until combined. Add flour and 1 heaping tsp salt and process only until dough comes together (20 secs)
Transfer to a well floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes). Your dough should not be sticky, if it is add more flour.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 1-2 hours.

Rolling out the Pasta:
Cut dough into 8 pieces and flatten into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). You can roll out Ravioli without a machine but we were having fun with our gadgets. Feed through the machine once. Fold into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase it's elasticity.
Turn the dial to next smaller setting. Pass dough through twice, supporting it with your palm. Pass dough twice through finer settings until desired thickness (for us it was #7). You want the dough to be almost translucent and thin without falling apart. Dust with flour if it gets sticky. Flour is your friend. Use a dry brush to dust off the flour at the end.

Get your largest pot of water boiling now.

Cutting and filling the ravioli:
There are a lot of ways to cut your ravioli. Lay the rolled pasta on a cutting board and cut into desired shape. One way is to lay the rectangular strips down and dot the filling onto the dough evenly spaces. Place the next strip over the top, slice into square and crimp the edges firmly with the tines of a fork. Or you could cut small rectangles and fill each ravioli one by one.

Boil the ravioli in batches. The pasta should sink and then float to the surface when they are ready.

For the sauce:
I made a bechamel sauce of- cream, butter, flour to thicken, nutmeg, pinch of finely chopped rosemary and parsley, salt to taste. (you could also use grated parmesan or gruyere- think fancy mac and cheese)
Garnish the ravioli with parsley, take lots of photos to post on facebook.
Gloat immediately, and serve.

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There is plenty of gozo at Rio Gozo Farm. That is JOY in Spanish and joy is one of the most dependable products we have. Gozo is commonly found in gardens and farms. Once you get a little gozo up and going it is very tolerant of most pests, withstands dry periods, and grows with a modicum of fertilizer. After gozo becomes a staple of one's diet, it goes with about anything. Actually folks crave it so much it is a wonder everyone does not have a patch of it growing close at hand. Grab up some gozo and get with the flow.