Beet Green Ravioli with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage

beet green ravioli

I love ravioli and all filled pastas. They have garnered a special place in my stomach. While I was studying abroad in London during college, all I ate for dinner was ravioli from the refrigerated section in Sainsbury's. I know it's not exactly gourmet, but it was the quickest meal I could make in between my studies and travels. I prefer simple sauces instead of drowning my ravioli in tomato-based sauces. So I would serve them with either green or red pesto or sometimes butter. Along with a side salad, it was the perfect meal. But since then, I've moved onto making my own pasta, a truly rewarding experience.

Having a flavorful filling is key for ravioli. Pretty much any green leafy vegetable sautéed in garlic and oil and mixed with cheese would make a great filling. I love all greens but have never had beet greens. With three bunches of beets from my trip to the Greenmarket, I decided I should at least utilize the greens to make a unique meal. I wasn't sure what to make at first, so I posed the question to twitter and Amy from Cooking with Amy gave me the great idea to make ravioli with browned butter.

You might look at this recipe and feel daunted, but don't. Making fresh pasta is not as hard as it looks. It just takes a bit of time and patience. Once you get the hang of it, the ravioli will start to look better with each and everyone made. A very informative video on fresh pasta making is on Chow.com featuring Laura Schenone, author of The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken.

Beet Green Ravioli

Adapted from the L.A. Times.

For the pasta dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
1 bunch beet greens, washed and trimmed of stems
1 15-ounce container whole milk ricotta
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg white

For the sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
handful sage leaves

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolk. Using a fork, beat the eggs while mixing in the flour a little at a time. Once the dough has come together, if it is too dry and crumbly, a little water can be added.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form into a ball and knead until the dough takes on a smooth surface, about 10 minutes.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

To make the filling, heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once slightly cooled, add the beet greens to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Turn out into a medium bowl. Add ricotta and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Add egg white and stir to combine.

To make the pasta, cut the disk into about 6 to 8 pieces. Work with only one piece at a time and keep the remaining pieces wrapped in plastic wrap. Form the piece into a flat disk, lightly flour, and feed it into the machine starting with the largest setting. Fold the dough in half and roll it through again. Now start moving onto the next setting and so on until the next-to-last setting is reached. The pasta should be silky smooth and less than 1/16-inch in thickness.

Lay the long sheet of pasta on a lightly floured work surface. Fold it in half and cut off the rounded ends. Cut the sheet in half at the fold over. One piece will be the bottom of the ravioli and the other the top.

Using a teaspoon, drop balls of filling about 1 inch apart onto one of the pasta sheets. Brush around the filling with a bit of water. Cover with the other pasta sheet, firmly pressing around each ball of filling to seal the dough while removing as much air as possible. Using a decorative pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut the pasta into ravioli and place onto a lightly floured tray or towel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Scraps of dough can also be reformed and rerolled on the machine.

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a rapid boil. Add the ravioli in small batches and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Stir now and then to prevent sticking.

To make the sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan on low heat. Add sage leaves and cook until butter starts to turn brown. In large bowl, toss the ravioli with the sauce and serve immediately. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.