Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese, Chives, Hazelnuts

makes about 50 ravioli

If you don't need 50 ravioli, this recipe is easily halved, but I suggest you make the full batch and freeze half for later.  

Special equipment that helps: You will need a ravioli mold for this recipe.  Of course, you can assemble these without a mold - it just makes it a lot easier. Also, a small pastry brush, a spider and a fluted plastry wheel are all helpful. 

for the filling:

11 ounces plain goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

for the pasta dough:

3 small beets, scrubbed
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup semolina flour

for the sauce:

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup butter  (real butter) 
2 tablespoons chopped chives 

Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a small baking pan with foil.  Trim the stems and tip off the beets and place on the foil.  Drizzle with just a little olive oil and some salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Leave the oven on and place the hazelnuts for the sauce on a foil lined baking sheet and toast for just 4 or 5 minutes, just until they are fragrant.  Set aside. 

After the beets have cooled, take a small paring knife and peel off the skins.  Quarter the beets and place in a food processor.  Add the eggs and flours.  Pulse until a ball of dough forms.  Add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms that is not dry, but still a little bit sticky. Take the dough out, knead a little on the counter and place on a sheet of floured plastic wrap and wrap.  Let rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes. Take your cheese filling out of the fridge and let the chill come off a little.  

Cut the dough in half and run it through the widest setting on your pasta rollers.  Fold in half and run it through again.  If it is sticking to the rollers, flour it a little. You don't want the pasta too dry but you don't wait it to stick to the rollers.  Adjust the rollers to the second setting and run the pasta through.  Keep running the pasta through, without folding,  until you have run it through the #5 setting.  Don't let your pasta sheets dry, like you do when you make fettuccine or spaghetti - you want them a bit sticky.  Use them right away. 

Lay a pasta sheet out on the counter and place the ravioli mold next to it.  Cut the pasta sheet a little bit longer than the ravioli mold.  You should have 3  - 4 cut sheets from this strip.  Flour the ravioli mold a little. Lay one sheet on top of the mold and gently make indentations into the wells of the mold.  Fill a quart size plastic bag (or a pastry bag with tip) with the filling.  Cut a corner off the plastic bag and pipe the filling into the indentations. Just pipe about a heaping teaspoon of the filling in each well.  With a small pastry brush (or even just your finger), brush a little water onto the dough around the filling so it will be moist and act like a glue.  Lay a second sheet of pasta on top.  Run a rolling pin over the top and invert the mold.  The ravioli will not be separated completely, so use the fluted pastry wheel to cut them.  Place on a floured baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.  Place a large skillet on your stove.  Warm the olive oil and butter for the sauce in the skillet.  Using the spider, lower half of the ravioli into the water and boil gently, not vigorously, for about 4 minutes.  Lift them out with the spider and place them into the skillet.  Gently toss with the butter and oil and keep warm. Add half of the chives and hazelnuts and toss. Repeat with the remaining ravioli and toss with the butter and oil.  Transfer to a pasta bowl and sprinkle the remaining chopped chives and hazelnuts on top and serve. 

The Italian Dish