Just over a year ago I hosted a multi-course Chocolate Dinner where everything was made with chocolate or cocoa. There was amuse-bouche: little bowls of chocolate dipped bacon, chocolate dipped potato chips, and Spicy Chocolate Popcorn. Then we had salad with chocolate dressing (imagine melted chocolate added to the vinaigrette instead of honey or maple syrup) and cocoa dusted almonds. Next course was Chocolate Eggplant Caponata served on white chocolate polenta (my least favourite course... I'm not an expert, so not everything works as I expect it). We then had pasta course consisting of Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling. Then Chocolate BBQ Ribs, soft, succulent, and juicy, then cheese course with three kinds of savoury Chocolate Cheese Truffles, and finally, Vegan Chocolate Cake for dessert. It was a filling, delicious, elegant, and unusual dinner.
I wanted to repeat those Chocolate Ravioli for over a year now and make them properly without the huge mistake that I made that time during my dinner. I bought a pasta rolling machine specifically for that Chocolate Dinner course. True to my tips for easy and stress-free entertaining I prepared as many dishes in advance as possible. I made Chocolate bbq sauce a couple of days before the dinner. I made polenta and caponata a day before. I prepared cocoa dusted almonds a week in advance. Ravioli only take a few minutes to cook, so I thought it would be a perfect course - just take them out of the fridge, boil for 2-3 minutes, shake in a pan with melted butter for another minute or two and onto the plates with a few shavings of parmesan cheese - easy! Or so I thought.
I made the Chocolate Pasta dough a day early. Then on the day of the party I used my new handy-dandy pasta rolling machine and made beautiful chocolate ravioli - cute and perfect. I then piled them on a plate, covered in plastic wrap and put in the fridge. (Cue ominous music now.) When it was time to make the pasta I left the dining room table where the conversation and the wine were flowing and happily boiled water. I then took the plate of my gorgeous ravioli out of the fridge and tried to pick them up one by one to drop into the pot of boiling water. (Cue even more ominous music.) Well, they stuck. The whole plate of my pretty little parcels got stuck together. Without trying to sound too panicky I called my husband into the kitchen. Together we were able to (barely) get a few raviolis into the water without too big holes in them. I covered the leaking filling with grated cheese and the course tasted amazing. Since then I wanted to repeat these ravioli, just properly, without sticking them in the fridge first.
So, when I got invited to participate in a Chocolate Valentine's Day collaboration with a few fellow Canadian bloggers, I knew right away that it was finally my chance to make the Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling again. This is not the most conservative recipe, but I still recommend you trying it. There are a couple of options for both the pasta and the filling that could work. The recipe that I used for the dough had an intensive chocolate undertone to it, so if you prefer a milder taste, I'd suggest reducing the amount of cocoa. Colour will still be brilliant and intensely chocolatey, but the taste will be closer to regular pasta.
Making pasta dough isn't actually difficult, just mix flour and cocoa and an egg. If the dough is too dry, which it was in my case, then add one or two tablespoons of water. If the dough is too wet, then add a shake or two of flour. Filling for the ravioli is delicious but quite intense because of the beets. If you'd like to only have the beautiful (or shall I say beet-iful) red colour inside the ravioli, but not beet taste, then you can reduce the amount of beets. Only use half or even a quarter of a beet. The filling will still be bright red, but the taste will be mild.
It is not the easiest dish and not the fastest, but it's actually not too difficult if you have a pasta rolling machine. I wouldn't make this on a week night, but on a weekend it's definitely doable.
Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling
10 ravioli + spaghetti
Flour - 3/4 cupCocoa powder - 1/4 cupEgg - 1Ricotta - 75 g (1/4 container)Cooked beet, finely grated - about 85 g (1 small)Parmesan cheese, grated - 25 g (1/3 cup)Salt, pepper - to tasteButter - 2 tablespoonsSage leaves - 4 or 6 small
- In a large bowl whisk the flour and cocoa powder together until fully combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the egg.
- Break the egg and start mixing in the flour with the fork just around the egg, then slowly get more and more flour into the egg until all the flour and egg are incorporated.
- If the mixture is too dry and not forming into dough, add a bit of water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Gather the dough into a bowl, wrap in plastic and leave on the counter for an hour. After an hour the dough will become pliable,
- To make the filling, in a small bowl combine the fine grated beet with ricotta, cheese and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Using a pasta rolling machine, roll HALF the dough according to the instructions into a long thin sheet.
- Place 10 dollops of filling along the sheet of pasta dough just off the centre.
- Brush the dough lightly with water along the edges and between the filling.
- Now fold the dough lengthwise over the filling and press in between to make parcels.
- Slice the dough into 10 square ravioli and press the edges with a fork to seal properly.
- Alternatively you could use two sheets of dough and a cookie cutter to cut the raioli or if you have a special ravioli form, then use that.
- The second half of the dough can be used to make spaghetti.
- Boil the ravioli in boiling salted water for about 3-4 minutes or until they start to float.
- While the ravioli are boiling, in a large pan melt the butter and add the sage leaves.
- Drain the cooked ravioli very well and add to the pan of melted butter for a minute or two.
- Serve with more grated cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- For less intense chocolate flavoured pasta reduce the amount of cocoa powder and increase the amount of flour. For example, you could use 3/4 cup + 1/8 cup of flour and 1/8 cup of cocoa powder.
- One egg for the pasta dough was not enough for me, so I added about 2 tablespoons of water, but it all depends on the humidity in your house and the ingredients.
- My husband said there was too much beet taste in the filling. You could use half a beet or even less for the colour. Or, alternatively, no beets at all. Just use ricotta, cheese, and a small egg to bind it together.
- You don't have to use sage in the melted butter either. Sage flavour is pretty strong, so not everyone likes it. I find that it actually pairs quite well with the beets, but you could just use some melted butter or your favourite light cream sauce for the pasta.
- Use the rest of the pasta dough to make spaghetti or tagliatelle and serve with either cream or butter sauce.
For more Chocolate inspired recipes, please check out these posts by my fellow Canadian Bloggers! You can also search for #CdnFoodCreatives hashtag on social media.
Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb by My Kitchen Love
Chocolate Spice Fig Truffles by The Busy Baker
Cocoa-Rubbed Drumsticks by Chew Street
Dark Chocolate Rosewater Truffles by The Cinnamon Scrolls
Gooey Caramel Cookie Cups by Liv for Cake
Mocha Waffle Torte by Cocoa Bean, The Vegetable
Savoury Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling by Imagelicious
Two-Bite Mochi Brownies by The Chewy Life