Friends at the Farmers Market and Beet Ravioli

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I was blessed this morning with the company of several friends at the market. Despite the fact that it was hotter than the sun, we had a great time shopping together and discovering all the new finds. For the first time this season, there was cantaloupe and eggplant is now in full swing. There were a number of new farmers this week including one with bamboo shoots (be on the look out for that recipe).

One of my new favorite vendors is the Urban Roots farm stand. This is a nonprofit that teaches young people how to garden. Great cause and great produce. They’ve had gorgeous squash, eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers the last two weeks. Highly recommend a stop by.

This week, the chef demonstration was from Chef Teresa Wilson of Aquarelle. We, of course, had to taste it, because how could you possibly pass up something from Aquarelle. If you haven’t eaten there, Aquarelle is an amazing French restaurant off of West Ave. and one of the best restaurants in Austin. But I digress….

So, the tasting this week was, wait for it… Beet Ravioli. And it was delicious. Apparently, I have fully embraced beets. The recipe uses beets as the pasta, goat cheese as the filling and fresh tomatoes as the sauce. Yum!

I had to see if I could pull it off. My experiment was not quite as successful as Chef Wilson’s (no surprise) because I had a hard time getting the beets thin enough without a mandoline or the slicing blade on a food processor, but it was still tasty. Even Beth Ann, my dinner companion, agreed. I highly recommend the recipe – it’s worth the effort.

Beet Ravioli
by Chef Teresa Wilson of Aquarelle

Step 1) Begin with
2 fresh beets – hint, try to find beets of a similar size
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced shallot
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp rice wine vinegar (I didn’t have rice wine vinegar so I used white wine vinegar)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Step 2) Prepare the beets
Peel and thinly slice the beets (you want a thin sheet like pasta dough, highly recommend using a mandoline or the slicing blade on a food processor to get a nice thin sheet)
Using a 2″ ring mold cut beet slices so they are uniform in size. (I also didn’t have a form so I cut them into squares.)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. (I recommend letting them sit for a while.)

Step 3) Sauce
2 large yellow tomatoes – remove seeds and dice (I used half yellow and half green zebra)
2 1/2 tsp finely chopped chives
1/2 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of sherry vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp basil, cut in chiffonade
Mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.

Step 4) Have Filling Ready
two 8 oz tubs of West Wind Dairy Jalapeno Cilantro Goat Cheese (I only needed one, but then again, I had beet issues)

Step 5) Assemble the Ravioli
Remove the beets from the liquid. Place 1 tbsp of cheese in center of beet slice. Top with another beet slice and press along edges to seal. Finish assembling all beet slices. Makes about 20 raviolis

Step 6) Plating
Place large spoonful of yellow tomato mixture in center of plate and top with 4-5 raviolis. Garnish with basil.

Variations
1) To add a little sweetness to the sauce, try adding Watson Farms tomato jelly to the sauce.
2) Use a yellow beet and red tomatoes for the sauce.
3) Instead of leaving them raw, the beets could be roasted.

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