Paris and I are back in the kitchen together. This can only mean two things. Beetroot and kale. So here you have it: handmade pasta tinged pink with beetroot juice, stuffed with kale pesto. Kale pesto – hipster, much? But we’re going to embrace it. This is one of the more time-consuming and intricate of mine and Paris’ culinary meanderings, but we’re more grown up now. We’ve been ‘collaborating’ for over a year now – all the way back to that Quinoa Porridge with, you guessed it, beetroot. Therefore, we thought it was high time we pushed the boat out and did something that could definitely be called a recipe, and not just a random selection of ingredients we cobbled together (which usually involved beetroot and/or kale…).
Having ‘worked’ together pretty often now, we have got better at anticipating what each other is thinking when we create the recipe, and seeing in a similar way when we style the shots. I was pretty sure we had an almost identical picture of what the finished shot would look like before I took a single picture. And having another pair of eyes when setting up the shots always helps, as they invariably see new ways of viewing the subject that you’d not considered.
So anyway, back to the pasta. I am not a handmade pasta virgin, in fact I have made it before in the early days of this blog, have a look at the recipe here (and please excuse the shockingly bad photography…). So this is fresh pasta mark II: a more complicated recipe, with better photography. When embarking on pasta making, I always start with the thought that it is going to be so much more hassle than it’s worth, and why didn’t I just go to Sainsbury’s like any normal person? But when I get lost in the hypnotic rhythm of rolling out the dough to a paper-like thinness, and carefully folding the dough around the filling, time passes effortlessly. The final result is a pretty special thing, and always tastes better than I remember – especially as I’m usually pretty hungry by this point. Fresh pasta is something that is greater than the sum of its parts: I find it hard to believe that flour, oil, a few eggs, and in this case a bit of beetroot and glorified cabbage, can make something so amazing. #foodblogwin
Makes around 20 (serves 4)
For the pasta:
2 beetroots, peeled and sliced, then blitz to a fine mush using a hand blender
4 free range eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
400g pasta flour (Italian ‘00’ flour works best)
For the kale pesto:
1 bunch of kale (de-stemmed)
1 clove garlic, crushed
50g cashew nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
First, make the pasta. Put the pasta flour into a bowl, and break the eggs into the centre. Gradually incorporate the olive oil, then start to bring the mixture together. Add the mushed beetroot to the flour mixture, including some of the juice. Bring the mixture together into a ball of dough, then wrap in clingfilm and chill whilst you make the pesto.
For the pesto, steam the kale for about 2 minutes, until a bright vibrant green. Put into a food processor, then add the cashew nuts, olive oil, garlic and some salt and pepper and blitz until a rough paste forms.
Roll the dough out onto a floured work surface until very thin, and you can almost see your fingers through it (around 1mm). Cut into round discs, approximately 5cm diameter, then put one teaspoon of the pesto in the middle of each disc, place another on top and seal the edges by pressing a fork around the edges.
Get a pan of salted water to a gentle boil, and slide the ravioli into the water with a spoon. They will only need about 3 minutes, as fresh pasta cooks very quickly. Don’t overcrowd the pan, as they might fall apart. Drain the pasta, and serve drizzled with olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper.