When you think of romantic dinners for two, visions of dimmed lights, flickering candles, and soft music paired with a decadent meal might spring into mind. Don’t misunderstand, we’re here for retro recipes and dinners held by candlelight. But much like the work behind lasting love, a meal prepared by two sets of hands rather than one creates a sense of teamwork and accomplishment to be savored together. A day dedicated to love, we believe that if you’re going to prepare a dinner for two this Valentine’s Day, why not extend the romance past the enjoyment of the meal to include the preparation? Pop open a bottle of Prosecco, mix up a couple of Aperol Spritz’, and start cooking together.
Whether your vibe is more Heart, Adele, or John Legend Radio on Spotify, is there anything more romantic than preparing a meal as an ensemble? We recognize that making your own pasta can seem a little daunting, that’s why having a second set of hands for support makes it that much more approachable. This hands-on recipe is playful, just the right amount of challenging, and oh-so rewarding. We recommend serving with a Primitivo from Puglia.
For the Pasta Dough
▢ 2 cups All Purpose flour
▢ 2 eggs
▢ 1 large beet
▢ 1 cup red wine
▢ Sprig of thyme
▢ Pinch of salt
For the Filling
▢ 1 cup Ricotta, drained
▢ 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino
▢ 1 tsp fresh thyme
▢ 1/2 lemon, zestest
▢ 4 oz shiitake mushrooms
▢ 1 clove garlic, minced
For the Sauce
- Place your beet in a large enough saucepan or pot to be able to cover it fully with liquid. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the pot, and fill the rest with water until just covering the beet. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the beet is fork tender, roughly 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Reserve the liquid used to cook the beet. Peel the beet, chop it into quarters, and place it in a blender with ¼ of the beet juice. Puree until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.
- Pour two cups of flour onto a clean countertop and create a well in the center. Add the eggs and beat with a fork to incorporate the egg into the flour.
- Add 4 tbsp of beet puree and begin kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and the gluten begins to develop, roughly 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
- While partner 1 is preparing the dough, you get to prepare the filling. Start by removing the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Cut the caps into thin slices.
- Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the shiitake mushrooms and season them with Nepitella, salt and pepper. The key here is not to overwork the mushrooms to allow them to brown. Once they start to brown, add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Remove the mushrooms from heat and allow them to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta, pecorino, lemon zest, thyme and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and mix together completely. Adjust seasoning as desired. Your filling is now ready!
- When you’re ready to start assembling your ravioli, cut the dough into quarters. If you’re rolling out with a rolling pin, take turns rolling the dough as it can get tiring! Be sure to move the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick to the counter, you can always add flour. Roll it out until it’s ⅛ of an inch thick. If you have a pasta machine, lightly dust one quarter with flour and press it into a disk that will pass through the pasta machine on its largest setting.
- Pass through the machine 4-5 times, and then lower the setting, and continue to pass the dough through, continuing to decrease the setting each time you pass the dough through until you reach the lowest setting on the pasta machine.
- Repeat this process with a second quarter of dough.
- Using a very sharp knife and a ruler, cut the dough strips to form two large long rectangles.
- Dollop 1-2 teaspoons of filling onto one of the dough strips 2 inches apart. Dab water around the filling, and carefully place the second strip of dough over top. Carefully press around the filling to seal the dough, you can both do this from one end of the dough to the other, meeting in the middle.
- Using the same sharp knife, cut between each mound of filling to create individual raviolis.
- Repeat these same steps with the remaining dough and filling. Using a fork, seal each ravioli by pressing down along the edges. Voila!
- When you’re ready to cook your ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with salt. Cook the ravioli for two minutes and drain.
- In a large pan, add the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the ravioli and toss with salt, pepper, and Erbe di Sicilia. Finnish with a squeeze of lemon and freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano.