23 March 2014

Parsnip-Madeira Ravioli with Beetroot Sauce

Although the temperatures at the moment look more like spring than winter, fresh veggies are still mainly of the root kind. We had some rare visitors the other day so I did do a little more in the kitchen; in other words this recipe requires a bit of extra work, mainly because of the homemade ravioli, but it does combine a variety of complementary tastes. It represents a meal in itself, but can be accompanied by a root vegetable bake (see below “remarks”).

What you need

  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300 ml fresh cream (or 200 ml and 100 ml crème fraiche)
  • veggie broth
  • sunflower or rapeseed oil for frying
  • 2 medium parsnips cubed (the smaller, the quicker)
  • ca 2 dl madeira
  • berbere (Ethiopian spice mix)
  • 1 medium beetroot cubed (the smaller, the quicker)
  • 1 dl dry white wine
  • ca 500 g fresh pasta dough (see below)

What you do

In two sauteuses (high walled frying pan) basically do the same for each of the root vegetables:
  1. Heat the oil and sweat the shallot and garlic mix without letting it brown.
  2. Add the cubed vegetables and sauté to bring out their flavour
  3. Season the parsnips with berbere, the beetroot with cumin, stirring while this goes on to enhance the flavour of the spices.

  4. Deglaze both sauteuses, the parsnips with madeira, the beetroot with the white wine.
  5. Top up with veggie broth to make sure the vegetables don’t burn but they must also not “swim” in liquid.
  6. Add the cream to the parsnips (you can do the same with the beetroot, but it makes more sense to wait with this until just before serving; see below).
  7. When they are soft, purée both and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the parsnip mix a little longer to thicken if it is too liquid (it should be formable with a spoon).
  8. Leave the parsnip mix to cool.
  9. Roll out the dough for the ravioli and cut into shapes (I use a rather large mezzalune – halfmoon – shapes, which saves a lot of messing about).
  10. Fill the ravioli making sure the outside is well flowered to prevent sticking and the inside is moist to ensure that the dough sticks together where it needs to.
  11. Heat up the beetroot mix, add the cream (to contrast the sweetness of the ravioli you may want to use crème fraiche) and season to taste.
  12. Before serving, bring salted water to the boil and lower the ravioli in gently in small amounts to prevent sticking. After roughly two to three minutes lift them out and serve them on a warm plate with the beetroot sauce.

Fresh pasta dough

It is of course possible to buy pasta dough. If you make it yourself, a good rule of thumb is 3 eggs, 300 g flour, 3 pinches of salt and optionally 1 tablespoon of olive oil to keep the dough supple, kneaded until it forms a smooth, quite dry (add more flour if needs be) solid ball.  
If you are not in a hurry, leave it to sit for at least 30 minutes under a damp cloth to give the flour time to react with the moisture of the eggs.
To roll out a special gadget for pasta helps, but a rolling pin works very well too. Thin is good for flavour but potentially tears more easily while the ravioli are being handled.


Caroline made a root vegetable bake to go with this, consisting of finely sliced sweet potatoes, yellow beetroot and all kinds of carrots mixed with leek, done in an oven dish with a bit of white wine and veggie broth at a relatively low temperature (150° for about 50 minutes).
Although a fair amount of work, the dish can be prepared in advance: the ravioli can be done in a couple of minutes in boiling salt water just before serving, raw ravioli are very easily frozen and will then need a little more time in the boiling water but finishing them à la minute is equally easy. The beetroot sauce could be completed with cream and a bit of seasoning if needed while the ravioli are being done.