Winter, mountain, robust eating from the Italian Dolomites. The color of the beetroot filling is stunning too, which does help in these rather lugubrious days . Austro-Hungarian influences, generous hand with butter and cheese, unusual ingredients (poppy seeds! – Italian cousin never stops to amaze me). This is a gorgeous pasta dish.
Casunziei ampezzani (beetroot and potato ravioli from Cortina d’Ampezzo)
For the pasta dough:
360g 00 flour or plain flour
40g fine wholemeal flour (you can use all white flour, if you like it)
4 eggs, well beaten
300g boiling potatoes
a knob of butter
a couple of tablespoons of unflavoured, dry breadcrumbs
To dress the ravioli
a couple of tablespoons of toasted poppy seeds
Roast the beetroots until tender (wrap them in foil for better roasting).
Peel them and puré them in a food processor.
Steam or roast the potatoes in their jacket. Peel them and pure them with a potato ricer or mash them with a fork.
Combine the two purés.
Melt the butter, add the breadcrumbs and toast them for about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable purès and dry them out for a few minutes, stirring often.
Transfer this mix into a bowl and add the egg and the Parmigiano. Check for salt and pepper: Cool completely. This filling can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance.
Make the pasta dough in the usual way. The dough is rolled through the pasta machine until the last before the last notch.
Make the casunziei using a round cutter or a glass.
The borders should be damp (use a brush or yours fingers)
They are half-moon shaped and crimped to seal them.
Lay them on a floured towel and do not make them too long in advance.
Cook them in salted water and dress them with a very generous amount of melted butter and poppy seeds. Pass the Parmigiano around. Black pepper.
I have made these casunziei both with already cooked beetroots and with raw ones (that I then roasted): both versions are good but roasting your own beets games up the dish.