What would Christmas be without the special food that we take a long time to prepare and share with those we love, only to gobble it up within a few minutes? To me, it just wouldn’t be Christmas at all. I live to spend the day in the kitchen, chopping, roasting, stewing, surrounded by such gorgeous smells. I relish preparing a dressed up table, using all sorts of fancy and unpractical things such as gravy boats and the like. On a regular basis I’d never dream of such things, I’m very “let’s cut to the chase, we’re here to stuff our faces”. But at Christmas I guess I like to at least pretend.
To me, Christmas means homemade pasta. Trays scattered on every surface of the house with long strands of tagliatelle drying out. A lovely red meat and tomato sauce slowly stewing on the stove. A glass of wine for the cook (always keep the cook happy!). Me, my brother and my cousins running about trying to snatch bits of raw freshly made pasta and getting our hands slapped away, being told raw egg would make our tummies hurt. Being allowed to play in my uncle’s precious living room, a privilege not available during the rest of the year.
But I’m all for creating new traditions, or reinventing the old ones. Being that G is pure Scottish, and that I’m in no way pure (my cultural heritage is one of the biggest mish-mashes you could imagine), we create one lovely multicultural hybrid tradition. And so, I have created this really great recipe that combines my love for fresh pasta and colourful vegetables, and topped it off adding some cheese. These silky red beetroot ravioli pair perfectly with the crunch of the walnut and the creamy feta filling, and a little bit of honey for contrast. It will not disappoint. The following amounts are enough for 2 people:
- 1 small beetroot, peeled
- 1 egg
- 250g flour tipo 00
- 200g feta cheese
- 50g walnuts
- 2 tbsp honey
- fresh basil
- Cook the beetroot in some salted water until tender. Drain the water and allow the beetroot to cool.
- Once the beetroot has cooled you can pulse it with a food processor or mash it with a fork. The point is to make a very fine purée with no lumps.
- Mix the egg and flour with the beetroot purée. The end result should be an elastic silky dough that is not sticky to the touch. If necessary, add one tablespoon of flour at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Roughly chop the walnuts and mix together with the honey and feta cheese. This mix should not be runny.
- Dust some flour on a clean and dry surface, and divide your pasta dough into 4 parts. Roll each part with a rolling pin until very thin (it should be slightly see-through). If you have a pasta roller, have the gadget do the hard work for you.
- We will work one sheet at a time (unless you have an industrial sized kitchen!). Take your rolled out sheet and lay it flat. Then take the feta cheese filling and scoop one teaspoon at a time. Make sure you leave a separation of at least 2 fingers between each.
- Then start folding one side of the sheet over the opposite, covering the filling. Try your best not to leave air inside with the filling (it’s tricky). If the pasta won’t close together, you can wet your finger slightly and run it in between the folds to make sure they stick.
- Cut your ravioli with either a sharp knife or a ravioli cutter (this is where I got mine) and repeat with the next sheet!
- Once you have all your ravioli, you can boil them in salted water for 3 minutes (fresh pasta takes very little time to cook, if you overcook it it’ll become hard and chewy). Drain and serve with some butter and fresh basil or the sauce of your choice.
- I like to serve this with brown butter. Simply take a pan and heat up some butter at medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes. Then I pour this over the prepared ravioli and decorate with fresh basil leaves.
- You can choose any other sauce, however remember that the highlight of this dish is the combination of flavours from the feta, walnuts and beetroot. I personally would want to enjoy this with a simple sauce.