Ever notice how most of the fall and winter vegetables are sorta squat and stumpy? Think about it. Winter squash, pumpkins, turnips...they wish they were as long and lithe as springtime asparagus or summer zucchini.
But if there's any vegetable that should teach us not to judge a book by its cover--or a vegetable by its shape or skin--it's the beet.
From the outside, beets are rough, blotchy and rotund.
But strip 'em down, and they're beautiful magenta orbs of glory. In fact, that color is so coveted that back in the olden days, young farm girls used to use this root vegetable to add color to their cheeks and lips.
Just kidding...I totally made that up. But it sounds true, doesn't it? Anyway, I decided to make ravioli with beets. I'd never cooked with beets before (actually, I'd never even eaten beets before), but I'd always heard that beets and goat cheese were a classic pairing. After peeling, dicing and roasting them in olive oil (the beets that is, not the cheese, although 'roasted goat cheese' sounds friggin' amazing), I tossed them in the food processor for a spin.
Then I added a 4-ounce package of goat cheese, a few sprigs of thyme and kosher salt and pepper.
If you're going to make a big ball of mush, it might as well be the prettiest color ever.
Using wonton wrappers, I spooned a drop of the beet-cheese mixture into the center and folded over the edges. You have to seal the edges with water or egg white so the pasta doesn't crack. This is not my first time at the wonton wrapper-ravioli rodeo. I gave it another whirl here.
And voila! I felt totally fancy serving this to my beau, who would have been satisfied eating hot dogs and a box of Entenmann's for dinner. But the kid's gotta learn sooner than later, I need my food to look pretty, and hot dogs ain't that.
Beet & Goat Cheese Ravioli
5 beets, peeled and diced into small pieces
1 4-ounce package of goat cheese, plain or with herbs
a few sprigs of thyme or tarragon
1 package wonton wrappers
equipment: food processor, pastry brush
Roast the peeled, diced beets in olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow to cool, then pulse in a food processor until smooth. Add a package of goat cheese and pulse to mix completely. Spoon the mixture (about a teaspoon each) into the center of a wonton wrapper, then fold over into a triange. Using a pastry brush, seal the edges with water or egg white. Arrange on a baking sheet until every wrapper is filled. Boil ravioli until they float to the top of the pot; about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain and top with vinaigrette.
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1 orange ought to do it)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp fresh minced tarragon or thyme
1/2 cup walnut oil (I used olive; didn't have walnut)
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the OJ, vinegar, shallot and herb, stirring until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and add the oil, walnuts and salt and pepper to taste.