Beetroot: Putting colour into pasta

There’s nothing quite like the beautiful fuchsia colour beetroot gives a dish.  Grating freshly cooked beetroot into creme fraiche with a little lemon juice, herbs and garlic chives makes a fabulous condiment that elevates your dinner plate to a masterpiece. Last week my lunchtime cheered up no end by the addition of a little chopped beetroot into a warm quinoa salad.

Today I experimented with beetroot pasta for an upcoming supper club (more details and draft menu at end of this post).  Recently I came across a gem of a cookbook for anyone interested in Italian cooking:  ‘The Italian Cookery Course’ by Katie Caldesi.  I took the recipe from here.  It is so simple yet very elegant.  To serve 4 people a light meal I made half the recipe:

150g pasta flour (I used strong flour and it turned out fine….couldn’t get my hands on pasta flour today)

1 egg

1/2 egg yolk

40g cooked beetroot

Put the flour into a stainless steel or glass bowl (beetroot will stain plastic) and make a hole in the centre of the flour.  Blend the egg, egg yolk and cooked beetroot with a food processor or hand blender until smooth.  Pour this paste into the flour.  Begin mixing from the inside out with a butter knife until most of the flour is combined with the liquids.  Now you can get your hand in and bring the dough together.  Knead for 5-10 minutes on a clean work surface (if your pasta is sticky add small amounts of flour until it’s workable without being too dry).  You should have a nice smooth ball that springs back when you press the surface with your finger.  Cover the dough with a clean, inverted bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes.

At this point of pause I put together a filling.  I love the combination of beetroot with goats cheese, and goats cheese with fennel so I made a filling with goats cheese, cooked chard and finely diced fennel (cooked in a little olive oil).  Mix when cool.

I took these photos on the laptop as I didn’t have my camera at home.  You will get the idea I’m sure.

After the resting period, I rolled the pasta with a machine (see previous pasta making post – ‘Pasta from Scratch’) until it was very thin and transparent.  Laying a long sheet of this thin pasta on a floured surface, I placed a teaspoon of the filling 5cm from the edge about 5cm apart from each other.  I then folded the edge over the filling.  The idea then, was to take a wine glass and use it to push air out, whilst using it as a cutter for the ravioli so the shape was a half moon.  A photo will do better justice to this step.

Where you see the wine glass to the left of this picture, I’ve just cut out 1 piece – the wine glass seals the pasta at the cutting point and so long as you’ve tried to push out the air just before cutting you should have a nice piece of beetroot ravioli.  The piece of pasta to the right has little mounds of filling and I proceeded by folding the upper edge over the filling and then cutting out with the wine glass.

This pasta can be cooked straight away in a big pot of salty boiling water for 5-6 minutes.  If you’re making it for later Katie Caldesi suggests par cooking it – for 2-3 minutes before draining and tossing in oil, then covering once cool with cling-film (in single layers so they don’t stick) and storing in the fridge for up to 5 hours.  Finish the cooking when ready to serve.  A nice little sauce with this would be sage butter and pine nuts (suggested in the book – different filling used though).

This has made it to the menu for next weeks supper club – a yummy pasta.  There are 2 spots still free on the 3rd of July’s supper club.  A sumptuous 7-course menu with a pre-dinner cocktail and canapes under our new gazebo in the centre of the organic garden.

Here’s a little idea of what’s on the menu:

Aperetif & Canapes

Wild Venison Plate: Cured & Seared Carpaccio, rye croutons, baby salad

Beetroot ravioli

Squid: chilli, garlic, lime

Gooseberry & Elderflower Sorbet

Pan-fried Hake

Braised shin grass-fed beef, Sicilian style sauce, marrow doughnut

Pernod Ice-cream with Summer Berries

Chocolate Plate


6 responses to this post.

  1. Oh wow sarah the colour is amazing, pasta looks delicious, defo must try that. Also love the sound of gooseberry & elderflower sorbet, was looking up recipes for elderflower last week, if you have any other suggestions that would be great 🙂 Vick x


    • Elderflower sorbet is yum if you have a little ice-cream machine all the better. I attempted elderflower fritters (recipe in Ballymaloe Cookery Book) recently for a dinner party. When the berries come out next I’ll try elderberry fritters too in beer batter – it was in a book I was reading ‘The Lady in the Palazzo’ by Marlena di Blassi – a nice read. Anyway I’m rambling. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Posted by mary dwyer on June 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Hi Sarah, what about having a vegetarian supper sometime over the summer? I think you’d get a few in from Knockcroghery… Mary


  3. Posted by Tara Beirne on June 30, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Yeah I’d be v interested in a veggie do too, Sarah and I’d bring a veggie friend! Tara.


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