Valentine’s Day is just under two weeks away. Did you forget? It’s easy for this holiday to sneak up on a person, and next thing you know it, you are scrambling to find a dinner reservation. Do not fret, my friend! In an effort to avoid the crazy busy restaurant scene on this hectic holiday, my husband and I almost always opt to celebrate from the comforts of our own home. By doing so, we are able to enjoy a more intimate setting versus the loud atmosphere of a bustling restaurant, and also can keep the wine flowing without the inflated price-tag that comes along with going out. I have the perfect dish for you to make that will truly show your valentine just how much you adore them. It is certainly a labor of love, but can be made even more fun if you rope your sweetheart into joining you in the kitchen to team up on this dish. If they aren’t already impressed by its beautiful presentation or its deliciously balanced flavor profile, then they will undoubtedly be impressed by the dirty dishes produced by putting together this creation! Regardless, your beloved is worth the extra work and will shower you with affection after setting this glorious plateful in front of them.
3-Cheese Beet Ravioli in a Brown Butter Sage Sauce with Salted Honey Hazelnuts
½ cup beet puree (approximately 2 small beets)
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina
1 additional egg for sealing with egg wash
2 cups ricotta cheese
16 oz goat cheese
2 cups parmigiano-reggiano, grated
4 cloves garlic
1 orange, zest only
Salt & pepper to taste
2 sticks of butter
12 sage leaves
½ cup hazelnuts, rough chopped
4 tsp honey
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sage, chiffonade
1 orange, segmented
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place the washed beets on a sheet of foil set within a small baking dish.
Drizzle the canola oil over the beets and gather the foil together so the beets are fully enclosed in the foil packet.
Roast the beets for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on their size, or until tender. Let the beets cool after pulling out of the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.
As the beets are cooling, prepare the hazelnut garnish. Line a quarter sheet tray with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped hazelnuts and honey. Spread the hazelnuts on the sheet tray and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the nuts to cool so the honey glaze can further harden.
Now it’s time to prepare the pasta dough! Peel the beet. I would HIGHLY encourage you to wear a pair of disposable gloves when working with the beets, otherwise, you will find yourself with some heavily stained hands. Likewise, if you have lighter countertops, line them with wax paper as you work with the beets, so they don’t stain the countertops. Once the beets are peeled, cut them into large chunks and place in a food processor.
Puree the beets until smooth, adding a touch of canola oil, if needed. The beets lend a really gorgeous, bright hue of pink to the pasta that is perfectly representative of the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Measure the beet puree, leaving only ½ cup in the food processor. The rest can be discarded or used in another recipe. Add the eggs to the food processor and puree again.
Add the flour and semolina and blend together until the dough begins to form into a ball in the food processor. If the dough is still really sticky, add more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a counter that is dusted with flour and knead for a minute.
Form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Set the dough to the side to allow it to rest.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. Now is a good time to give the food processor a clean, so it doesn’t stain. Remove the paper from the garlic and add the whole cloves into the freshly cleaned food processor; turn it on to chop it down. Next add the goat cheese to break it down.
Lastly, add the ricotta cheese, parmigiano-reggiano, egg, zest of one orange, and salt and pepper to taste.
Blend in the food processor until combined. Keep this in the fridge while working on the garnishes.
To prepare the garnishes, chiffonade the sage, segment the orange, and break apart the salted honey toasted hazelnuts with your hands. Set the garnishes to the side.
Start to bring a large pot of water to a boil, salting the water heavily. Prepare the sauce. Heat a large sauté pan to medium low heat. Add the butter. Once the butter begins to melt, add the whole sage leaves. Allow the butter to melt and brown on that medium low heat while forming the ravioli. Check on the brown butter sauce occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. If desired browning has been reached, simply turn it off until you are about ready to start tossing the pasta in it.
Cut the pasta dough into 4 equal portions.
Roll out each portion of pasta into long sheets, keeping the other portions covered in plastic wrap when not rolling them so they don’t dry out. If using a pasta roller, heavily flour the machine, and go through setting 6 to achieve a nice, thin sheet. If rolling out by hand, roll the pasta as thinly as possible.
To add an extra romantic element to the ravioli, I opted to make them heart-shaped using a cookie cutter. You can go this route, or do the more traditional round or square-shaped ravioli instead, if you like.
Pair up the sheets of pasta, trying to match those closest in size together. Grab the smaller of the two sheets from a pair and start by taking your cookie cutter and making a light imprint with the cutter on the dough sheet, not cutting through at this point. Continue doing this along the full pasta sheet, working to space the imprints together as closely as possible.
Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, add approximately 1 tablespoon of filling to the center of each imprint, being careful to not overfill.
Whisk together the extra egg with a splash of water. Using your finger, brush the egg wash just inside the line of each imprint.
Take the other sheet of pasta from the pair and gently place over the sheet containing the filling to act as a lid. Press around each mound of filling to firmly seal the egg wash to the covering sheet of pasta.
Grab the cookie cutter again and center it around each mound of filling, firmly pressing to cut all the way through the dough this time.
Once the full sheet has been cut, transfer the ravioli to a floured sheet tray, pinching around the edges of each ravioli one last time to make sure it is fully sealed. You could also use a fork to do this if you would like added texture to your ravioli. Set aside as you form the rest of your ravioli with the other sheets of pasta.
Drop the ravioli in the salted boiling water and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes.
Using a spider, scoop the ravioli from the boiling water, draining off as much excess water as possible. In batches, toss the ravioli in the sage butter, then transfer to a plate.
Once all the ravioli have been tossed in the sauce, finish each plate by garnishing with a couple slices of the segmented orange, and a sprinkling of the sage chiffonade and salted honey hazelnuts.
This recipe yields approximately 6 large servings of ravioli. If you are not in need of all 6 servings, you can simply freeze any extra formed ravioli just before the point in the recipe where you would boil them.
Another great alternative to avoiding the over-crowded Valentine’s Day restaurant scene while also circumventing a dirty dish pile-up is to come join us at The Chopping Block for one of our Valentine’s Day offerings! It’s a really fun and unique date night idea that your significant other is sure to enjoy. We even have options available for demonstration classes and hands-on classes, depending on what you’re interested in.
One last Valentine’s day dilemma to solve is what to give as a gift for your love? I happen to have a solution for that one as well! If you’re looking for something a little different from the usual flowers and a box of chocolates, you can order some house-made, artisanal macarons from The Chopping Block, to really impress. There are six different flavors of macarons, making it the perfect combination of something unique and special to satisfy that Valentine’s Day sweet tooth. These are the ultimate Valentine treats!