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Timing is Everything: Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Brown Butter

Here’s how every story starts: the right timing. Sometimes, you want something to happen so badly, when it doesn’t, it feels like the universe is working against you. But the real reason things don’t work out? Timing. It’s everything. It’s the reason some of us find our dream job when we’re 22 and some of us find it when we’re 55. It’s the reason some of us have our first kiss when we’re 12 and some of us have it when we’re 17 (or 23).

Some days, life feels like a race against time: the alarm clock, the traffic pattern, the train schedule, meeting schedule, dinner reservation, phone date, interview, doctor’s appointment, etc. etc. One thing could be off-schedule, and everything else gets thrown out of wack. And other days, things just all fall into place.

When I made this pasta a few weeks ago, time was not on my side. Nearly everything seemed to go wrong. My pasta roller was off-kilter and every time I would roll the dough through, it would make the sound of a screaming baby. It was so loud, I had to wear earplugs, as I fed sheets of dough through, hoping my neighbors didn’t think I was delivering a child. I added too much flour to my usual pasta dough, causing it to be ridiculously difficult to knead. I was in a rush to finish the pasta in order to make it to dinner with a friend and at some point I thought to myself: “This s**t better be worth it.” I don’t normally curse on the site, but I’m just being real here: it’s what I said to myself, as I was covered in sweat from all of that kneading. In any case. I formed my raviolis, FINALLY, froze them, took a shower and left the house.

The next day, I cooked the pasta, topped with a serious drizzle of browned poppy seed butter and I was speechless. The beet filling, so delicate, yet assertively punctuated by blue cheese, was out of this world. The poppy seeds added a unique nuttiness to the browned butter sauce. From a presentation perspective, this pasta has a striking appearance: bright red color peeks through the thin pasta for an unexpected ‘wow’ factor. All of the factors seemed to work against me and yet, this was still some of the best darn pasta I had ever tried. It was gone so fast, I barely even had time to take pictures (I stole a few pickled red onion rings and pine nuts that my friend Lindsey brought over for the plating). What does this experience teach me? That you can let things happen to you, but sometimes, against all odds, you can make things happen…even when timing is not on your side.

For you, I have a few recommendations to make this experience better than mine:

a. Don’t freak out when your pasta dough is not coming together. If it is too dry, add a little bit of water (very little at a time). If it is too wet, add a little bit more flour.
b. Wear gloves when you peel your beets so that your hands don’t get stained.
c. Oil your pasta rollers with mineral oil when they start making hideous screeching sounds.
d. Give yourself several hours to work. Cancel all other appointments/engagements.
c. Invite a friend: sealing raviolis one by one is tedious. It’s much more fun (and faster) when you have a friend to help you out.

Once you have mastered the above, prepare to be blown away.

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Brown Butter
adapted from Bon Appétit
*makes enough for 6, as an appetizer or side dish (4 as a meal)

3 medium red beets
1/2 cup of fresh ricotta cheese (preferably whole-milk)
3 – 4 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese (more or less, depending on how much you like blue cheese and how assertive you want this flavor to be)
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 1/4 pounds of fresh pasta sheets (I use this recipe, using 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 – 1 teaspoon of lemon zest (optional)
salt, to taste

For the brown butter:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the beets a few times with a fork and wrap them individually in foil. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for about an hour (until a fork can easily be inserted into them). Remove them from the foil and allow them to cool before peeling them.
2. Use a box grater to grate the beets finely. Combine the grated beets, ricotta, lemon zest (if using) and blue cheese in a medium bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs and season with fresh pepper and salt, to taste.
3. Once you have rolled out your pasta sheets, cut out approximately 3-inch round circles in them using a biscuit cutter. Scoop about a teaspoon or two of filling into the center of each round (don’t overfill). Fold the round in half, sealing the raviolis by dipping your fingers in clean water and pressing the edges together. As you work, keep the remaining dough covered with plastic so that it does not dry out.
4. Place the sealed raviolis on a tea towel sprinkled with flour.
5. Transfer the prepared raviolis to a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for several hours before transferring them to a freezer bag.
6. To make the poppy seed brown butter, melt the butter over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Add the poppy seeds, stirring for several minutes, until the butter begins to lightly brown and give off a warm, nutty aroma. Pour the butter into a bowl and keep warm.
7. Cook the raviolis: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the frozen raviolis and cook for about 8 minutes (or until the raviolis are floating and cooked through). Transfer to a serving platter using a slotted spoon.
8. Serve the raviolis topped with the poppy seed brown butter and Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Musical Pairings: Motel Beds – Sunfried Dreams + Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Brown Butter

This is just 1/2 of the fun. Head to the Turntable for the Pairing!

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Posted by Kasey


Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Michelle

    I just made homemade raviolis yesterday! (Crab and ricotta with lemon sauce…) I happen to have dough left over and I happen to be a beet fanatic. I am not a fan of Blue Cheese though ( I think it tastes like dead black ants smell… weird) I was wondering if you have a suggestion for another cheese to use. What would you think of a bit of feta instead?

  • Kasey

    Michelle, totally understandable! I added the blue cheese because I wanted to add a more assertive flavor, but sticking with ricotta is fine. Or, try goat cheese – it’s also pretty mild, but has that lovely creaminess. Feta might be a little too thick for this particular recipe. Oh, and lastly, I realized I left off a brilliant ingredient: a teaspoon of lemon zest – I think it really plays up the flavor of the cheese. Enjoy!

  • Nicole

    I think we can all agree that this sh*t looks totally worth it! Wow, Kasey. It is like art on a plate. Congrats on your new career, too :)

  • Kasey

    Aww, thanks Nicole you are too sweet! I agree, s**t was worth it! In the future, I will follow the above plan and think things will go much smoother :-)

  • Sarah

    Those look great! Unique! Too bad there is no way I have enough patients to get through a recipie like this. I am thinking about making the buns/ northstar burgers as a treat for my boyfriend’s birthday. My all time favorite beet recipe!

  • Sarah


  • Kasey

    Sarah- here’s a tip if you don’t have patience: you can purchase pre-made wonton wrappers from nearly any grocery store. They’re already precut, so all you have to do is make the filling and seal them. You’re not going that extra step to make homemade pasta dough, but you’ll still end up with a beautiful meal! The Northstar burgers are one of my faves – been thinking about making them again soon!

  • Kimberley

    Love this! Such a creative recipe; I don’t think I woud ever consider pairing poppy seeds and butter in a sauce over pasta.

  • Kasey

    Kimberley: I wouldn’t have either, but it totally works!

  • erin

    Wow, I am impressed! You made your own pasta and used beets as a filling! Very cool. I’ve never had beet pasta, but I want it…now!

  • Kasey

    @Erin: It was definitely really unique, but in a really good way.

  • Kelsey

    I think they look great, Kasey! Are you kidding? Totally intrigued by the poppyseeds too. Thanks for digging this out of the archives for me, i love it!

  • Kasey

    Of course, Kelsey! I love the Pinterst > blog connection :) This one was quite time-consuming, but really, really delicious. I think I should have rolled out my pasta a little thinner so that the red showed through!

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