Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beets Me

I made pasta once before.  It was sticky and eggy and not quite delicious.  Passable, yes.  Fabulous, no.  Pasta is cheap, and I don’t like it all that much anyway, so why bother making it?  After discovering the blog Pure Vege, that I highlighted in a previous post, I knew that attitude had to change.

Hello beet ravioli.  I like beets.  I find their color pleasing, their taste unique, and their texture appetizing.  Over the years I have stirred them into cakes (with another one coming up soon!) sliced them onto salads, pureed them into hummus, and stir fried their greens.  One thing I had not thought of (and I DO have a tendency to come up with *ahem* wacky ideas) was including them in pasta.  The little dumplings on Pure Vege looked so simple and so delectable.  I envisioned eating them on a bed of steamed rainbow chard drizzled with olive oil.

Unfortunately, rainbow chard is not yet available anywhere here in Tuebingen.  I did not, however, let that deter me from beet-dumpling making.  I purchased three beets from my favorite market (I also bought the cherry tomatoes you see in the pictures.  I could NOT pass up a mix like that!).  
Everything went fine until the pureeing step.  I roasted the beets in about an inch of water, along with a gorgeous Hokkaido squash.  The skins came off less easily than I was expecting, and the resulting veggies just didn’t want to puree, preferring to stay in chunks.  After some manic blending followed by violent mashing with a fork, they were in a passable paste form.  Still a little chunky, but it wasn’t going to get any better.

I mixed the paste with 1 cup of whole-wheat flour and about 1/3 cup of spelt flour.  The mixing process took forever.   I used my hands to cut the paste into the dough, sort of like a piecrust.  I then kneaded and squeezed until the dough was the consistency described in the original recipe –springs back when poked.
After the 30-minute rest period, I cut the dough into quarters and rolled it out between two sheets of parchment paper.  I got about 6 dumplings per quarter (a total of 26).  I filled each little circle with a 50/50 mixture of quark and feta.  Rubbed a little water on the edge of each circle and sealed.
I served them over some lovely squash and sliced cherry tomatoes.

 Life is good.  Food is good.

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