Casunziei all'ampezzana (Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seeds)

By Emiko
September 4, 2014
10 Comments


Author Notes: The quality of the beets is of utmost importance -- they are what sing. They make a mighty pretty presentation, too. Use fresh, firm beets -- don't even attempt to do this with canned, pre-cooked ones. Emiko

Serves: 5

  • 3 1/4 cups (400 grams) flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (700 grams) of fresh beets (about 3 medium beets)
  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) of potato (about 2 small potatoes)
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, whole
  • Olive oil
  • pinches of freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinches of ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) butter
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 3 ounces (80 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Make a pasta dough by combining flour with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack the eggs into it. Add the olive oil and, with a fork, begin to beat the eggs and oil together until creamy. Slowly begin incorporating the flour around the wet ingredients until it begins to get very thick. At this point you may like to start using your hands and work the dough until it is no longer sticky (add flour a bit at a time if you need to) and you have a ball that is smooth, elastic, and bounces back if you push a finger into it. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Clean and quarter the beets (I don't bother peeling them, except for any hard bits) and place in a saucepan of cold water with the potatoes (clean but whole, skin on) and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are tender (depending on size, the potatoes may need to be removed a little earlier than the beets). Peel the potatoes while warm and mash until smooth. Purée the beets until smooth.
  3. In a skillet, gently heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the whole garlic cloves. Over low-medium heat, add the beets and potatoes and cook about 10 minutes, or until some of the water has evaporated from the vegetables and the mixture is thick and begins to bubble. Season with salt, pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Remove the garlic and set the mixture aside to cool completely. This can be done the day before.
  4. Make the ravioli by rolling out half of the dough on a floured surface until it is thin enough to see your hand through the other side. Cut out rounds with a regular drinking glass or cookie cutter (approximately 3 to 4 inches or 8 to 10 centimeters in diameter) and place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each round. Fold the rounds in half to create half-moon shapes and seal the edges firmly with your fingers. Set the ravioli aside, uncovered, on a lightly floured surface while you finish the rest. Keep any pasta dough under a tea towel while you work and continue until all the pasta/filling is used up.
  5. Cook ravioli in gently simmering, salted water for a couple of minutes, or until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on warm plates. Serve dribbled with melted butter, a scattering of poppy seeds and Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, the uncooked ravioli can be frozen until ready to use; to cook them, place them frozen in simmering water until they float and the pastry is cooked through.

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Reviews (10) Questions (1)

10 Comments

Michelle March 19, 2016
How many ravioli would make up a portion for a starter? And should one use floury potatoes?
 
Author Comment
Emiko March 20, 2016
If you look at the photos, you'll see a plate of ravioli in there -- that's about the size you would want to serve as a starter (so, about 6?). Floury potatoes would be perfect.
 
Michelle March 22, 2016
Oh excellent, thank you! I've been aching to make this since you posted it - really looking forward to sharing it with my guests!
 
deanna1001 September 18, 2014
I clipped a recipe for this dish years ago (don't recall from where) and their quick tip was to use wonton wrappers if you don't have time to make the pasta. Work just fine. I find they are very delicate and do best if you cook them in a shallower pan rather than a deep pot - they don't roll around as violently that way. This has always been a big hit with dinner guests as a first course. Glad to see this is a community pick!
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 18, 2014
That is a very good tip, although I must say in defence of freshly made pasta, that it's pretty quick to mix up and cut out and that's the only extra part you would have to do. And the flavour is better in that they taste more authentic and have a better texture. Also this pasta is richer than wonton wrappers as it's made with eggs (also more elastic and less delicate for same reason) so a pot is suitable for cooking but the water should always be at a gentle simmer, the ravioli shouldn't ever be tumbling around in there! But I'm biased of course! ;)
 
deanna1001 September 18, 2014
Emiko - I totally agree. Fresh pasta is always better! Given the time, I definitely make it myself. But the shortcut hack is nice to have in back pocket...<br />
 
Jo S. September 17, 2014
This looks absolutely fabulous! I will try this out tonight! Thanks for sharing this recepy! You rock, Emiko :)
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 17, 2014
Thank YOU! :)
 
amp156 September 17, 2014
When I used to live in Brooklyn, I would always order this dish from al di la. I love it so much but rarely have the time to roll out ravioli. I now do a 'deconstructed' (lazy) version in which I shred beets and cook them down in butter, add toasted poppy seeds and toss with pasta.
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 17, 2014
Love this idea!