Spicy Ravioli Hearts

I’ll be frank with you, it might make me sound like a hypocrite, but I’ll be frank…I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day! There, I said it…. I don’t like all the hullabaloo and fluff and I most certainly don’t like the mush, the reds, the hearts, the roses…and yet, here I am, with a dish as red as can be…filled with hearts!!! Talk about a paradox of nature! 😛

Now the fact that I don’t celebrate V-day has nothing to do with me being insipidly single; I just don’t believe we need a DAY to celebrate love, or show love to our close ones. And why does it have to be a spouse or partner who deserves to be showered with love? I for one want to celebrate this day as a symbol of love for myself… for the girl I was and the woman I am now. For the insecure, grumpy girl who’d cry at the drop of a hot, to the woman who’s dealt with some of life’s biggest blows and has come out a survivor. I love myself, just the way I am, and that is why I celebrate Valentine’s Day 🙂

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Having said that, if we’re going to make something symbolic to celebrate a festival, I’d rather do it for the people who love me, unconditionally – my parents of course 🙂 And though I don’t need a special occasion to share my love for them, I thought it would be nice to surprise them with a meal… It also didn’t hurt that I had to curate a meal anyway, for work purposes..

So while I wracked my brains and drove myself crazy, I suddenly realized that love doesn’t always have to be sweet. It can be hot, spicy and as red as beetroot when angered 😉 just like me, hahahaha….

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This is the first time I have made Pasta; my friend from Malaysia had gifted me a beautiful Pasta machine a few months back..and this is the first time I got the chance to use it 🙂 13559189_10154977683856040_7835522918092162195_o

It’s fairly easy to use a Pasta machine, but anybody who’s made pasta before will know how much elbow-grease is involved in the whole process. Pasta-making is tricky, and does take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really, really easy. My arms took a workout though, I’ll be honest, and at one point I was certain of failure. But viola, I let the dough rest, as the recipe said, and after a few hours, I had a smooth pasta dough. Rolling it out through the pasta machine was a whole other ball game though…and because I don’t have a ravioli cutter, I used my heart-shaped cookie cutter 🙂 Pretty handy eh? 😉

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For the filling, I decided to use Ricotta and some shredded Mozzarella, with spices and just a hint of garlic. The Ravioli itself had some smoky paprika powder, to give it that whiff of spice, and I’ve used beetroot juice to bring out the colour. I made a creamy Peppercorn sauce to complement the ravioli, and as an afterthought, made a sticky Balsamic reduction to finish the dish 🙂 I think I was mostly surprised by how well the balsamic dressing tied the dish together… guess instincts matter eh? 😀

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Spicy Ravioli Hearts

Ingredients:

For the Ravioli

  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Egg yolks – 2 (from large eggs, beaten)
  • Semolina/Rice flour – for dusting
  • Beetroot extract or Red food colouring – 1 tbsp (or as needed… I used 3 tbsp beetroot juice)
  • Paprika powder – 1 tsp

For the Filling

  • Ricotta cheese – 1 cup, drained
  • Mozzarella cheese – ¼ cup, grated
  • Red chili flakes – 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

For the Sauce

  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
  • Shallots – ½ cup, diced finely
  • Cracked peppercorns – 2 tbsp (or black pepper powder)
  • Cream – 1 cup
  • Plain flour – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Stock or Water – 1 and ½ cups

For Garnish –

  • Balsamic Vinegar – 4 tbsp
  • Honey – 2 tbsp
  • Parsley/Coriander – finely chopped, 1 tsp

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, a pinch of salt, garlic powder, chili flakes and mix well. Keep aside until use.
  2. For the sauce, heat a large saucepan with butter.
  3. When it melts, add the minced garlic and shallots, and when well-browned, add the flour.
  4. Mix, let it turn golden, and add the cream and salt. Whisk well and add the stock.
  5. When the sauce starts bubbling, add the cracked peppercorns/black pepper, and let the sauce reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Keep aside.
  6. Put flour, beetroot juice or food colour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and yolks, and mix with hands or a wooden spoon for a minute or so, until the dough comes together. (Alternately, you can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.)
  7. If the dough seems dry or crumbly, add 1 or 2 tbsp of cold water, but just enough to keep the dough together.
  8. Turn out dough out onto a board or floured surface, and knead to form a ball.
  9. Flatten the dough ball to a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap in plastic, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour (several hours is fine. You can refrigerate it overnight too, but thaw it well before moving on to the next step)
  10. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Knead each piece until smooth, roll with a rolling pin or pasta machine as thinly as possible (but not paper-thin).
  11. Lay out the dough on a floured sheet pan/surface, and fold in half, horizontally.
  12. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut out hearts; separate the hearts.
  13. Fill one half of the hearts with stuffing, and gently run a watered finger along the sides, place the other half on top and seal the seams with fingers or fork.
  14. Once all the raviolis are done, heat a pot of water with a generous amount of salt.
  15. Cook the raviolis for 4 to 5 mins, or until al dente.
  16. Pick out with a slotted spoon, and drain well on paper towels.
  17. Heat a saucepan with the balsamic vinegar, keeping flame on medium.
  18. Add the honey and whisk it in well.
  19. Let it simmer, stirring constantly, on a medium-high heat until the sauce reduces to a sticky consistency (will take 7 to 8 mins).
  20. Switch off flame, let it cool to room temp.
  21. In another pan, add a blob of butter, and quickly toss the raviolis in it for about 2 minutes. (this step is optional)
  22. Serve raviolis with a generous helping of sauce.
  23. Drizzle balsamic reduction over pasta just before serving, and sprinkle some finely chopped parsley.

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