Finally. Finally I made this dish! This is my favorite dish at Al Di La. I usually make a point of eating at Al Di La when I am visiting friends back in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This Italian trattoria famously does not take reservations, but it's worth the wait (or the ridiculously early dinner). While I no longer live close enough to get my casunziei fix, I have doctored up a version very close to the one at Al Di La. This dish is perfect for fall.
I didn't follow a particular recipe for this dish -- you can just wing it. Below are the ingredients and proportions I used for the filling and the sauce. You can use any fresh pasta dough recipe for the raviolis. Pasta dough recipes vary in the amount of eggs, flour and oil -- but I am partial to the one by Mario Batali in Food and Wine. I cannot emphasize enough how important very farm fresh eggs are for a great pasta dough. I made a half recipe of the pasta dough recipe and ended up with about 30 small raviolis.
- 2 large beets
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 Tablespoons butter
- 4 sage leaves
- poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place whole beets in a baking dish with 2 TB of water, cover with foil, cut a slit on top and bake for 45 minutes. Once beets are cooled, use a pairing knife to peel and segment the beets.
- Place beets into food processor and pulse until the beets form a smooth puree - there will be some texture left.
- In a large bowl, add the beet puree and ricotta cheese. Salt and pepper filling to taste, and then mix in one egg. Refrigerate the filling until ready to use.
- Make the pasta dough according to your favorite recipe. Roll dough thin for raviolis (I used #6 on the pasta maker). Cut the shape of your ravioli and fill with the beet mixture. Seal the edges with egg white. I used a 3 inch biscuit cutter, which made fairly small ravioli when folded over into semi-circles. If the dough was rolled a bit thicker (#5) it could handle a larger size and more filling.
- For the sauce, in a frying pan place the butter and whole sage leaves on low heat until the butter is fully melted and slightly browned.
- Gently drop the raviolis into a large pot of salted boiling water. Remove the raviolis when they float to the top -- should only take 2-3 minutes.
- Drizzle the butter sauce over the raviolis and then add a healthy amount of poppy seeds.
Note: If you're feeling ambitious and make extra, you can make the raviolis and freeze them on a large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Once frozen through, you can remove them from the sheet and into a plastic freezer bag.