Privileged to prep with the chefs at Incanto in Amsterdam. This Italian restaurant is no simple Italian restaurant, located near Old Town, the flower market and ideally across from our hotel. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to have a “cooking workshop” to experience their mise en place for dinner that evening. Expert chefs Bas Schippers and Nicola Rossi were gracious and immersed me in their busy kitchen prep. The quality and freshness of the food in this kitchen were beyond impressive. Two kinds of fresh mozzarella were delivered, three types of homemade bread were being made, fresh pistachio ice cream churning and I stood amidst turnips, fresh herbs, garlic, beets, and beautiful tomatoes.I peeled the roasted and cooled beets. It is surprisingly simple to rub the skins off once they are cooled. Because the rich ruby color of the beets tints everything it touches, I wore gloves and kept them separate from the golden beets so they could retain their color before slicing them.
Later for dinner Chef Bas created a handmade ravioli filled with beets over a light cream sauce and topped with slices of green onion and herbs. The simplicity and slight sweetness of the ravioli melted in my mouth.
Ravioli is so yummy when it is homemade, but the real impact is the filling when you bite into it. Chef Bas’ beet filling is unique, earthy and packed with flavor. You could add a different sauce or other vegetables, but why would you? Here is the recipe for the homemade pasta dough from my cookbook Sweeter Roots.
Recipe for Ravioli
14 ounces of pasta flour (semolina or a good quality flour is best)
4 tablespoons white wine
pinch of salt
1 beaten egg (for sealing the ravioli)
On a large surface area shape the flour in a circular mound with a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center and add the wine and salt. Using a fork, gently beat the eggs into the flour, wine and salt and combine well. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand, working the dough for several minutes. Dough should be elastic, silky, and smooth. If the dough is sticky, simply sprinkle with additional flour. Shape the dough into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling prepare your filling.
2 cups of roasted, cooled and peeled beets, grated
1/4 ricotta cheese
pinch of salt
Using a fork blend the ingredients together and set aside.
Remove the pasta dough from the refrigerator and roll out onto a floured surface. To get the pasta dough extremely thin it is best to run it through a pasta crank. Otherwise use a rolling pin and roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut in half to work with the dough in portions. Dust with additional flour if necessary. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to punch out the circular shape for the ravioli. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center and wrap the dough over the filling. Gently push out any air as you pinch the edges together. Seal the edges with a light brushing of beaten egg. Place on a paper towel or cheese cloth dusted with flour. Cook the ravioli in batches in a large pot of boiling water for about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan cheese, thinly sliced green onion and a touch of extra virgin olive oil.