To say I was thrilled last weekend when I harvested my Turmeric rhizomes, would be an understatement. I was over the moon!! I was smiling from ear to ear, I was just so so happy.
Then that got me thinking, what can I make with this crop apart for using it in Curries and Soups. Turmeric is not spicy per se, but get the spray of its liquid into your eye, it will sting! (just saying….I may have got too excited; and oops scratched my eye with my wet finger). Fresh Turmeric certainly adds colour to any dish, but it also has a very subtle earthy note, of course when used correctly, that is adding more than the recipe states will only make the dish taste burnt and overpowering.
I was really excited to be able to grow Turmeric in London, UK, let alone get a harvest. Whilst making dinner that Sunday evening, I had a eureka moment. When we make spicy Parathas we add fresh ginger, green chillies, all the usual suspects of dry ingredients, and if we have fresh Turmeric add that too instead of the powder version. This gave me an idea. Why not make fresh Turmeric Ravioli.
Wouldn’t it be nice to use fresh Turmeric when making the Pasta dough. My friend Carmela; she makes the most beautiful pasta, adding fresh herbs into her pasta dough. I must confess, I have never made Pasta from scratch. Been to Carmela’s masterclass, and have always watched her come up with some beautiful patterns in the Pasta, (please check out her site).
So I set myself a challenge. And I wasn’t going to buy a Pasta Machine either, well not yet anyway. The idea was to use a good old fashioned Rolling Pin and roll out the dough. Ok, this all looks good on paper, now let’s see if it actually works.
To start, take 100g of flour, one free range egg, and freshly grated Turmeric (a fresh piece no bigger than 2cm. Beat the egg in with the turmeric and slowly ‘drawing in’ the flour. As the dough starts to come together, with the palm of your hand knead the dough. the gluten in the dough with become tough, but regardless knead for about 10 minutes.
Wrap the dough with some cling film. Rest it in a cool place for at least 20 minutes.
Using what I still had left, in my fridge, a few of my final harvest of Detroit Beetroot and from my store, King Edward Potatoes. The addition of Potato is purely to give the beetroot filling some body. Both were boiled separately, first peeled the beetroot and pureed it, whilst the boiled potato was lightly grated, ready for the next stage. Ratio of beetroot to potato is 2:1
Beetroot, has naturally a sweet earthy taste, so using it in a Ravioli, will require seasoning to balance those earthy notes with some spice notes. Into a warming Pan add a tablespoon of Olive Oil, then add a crushed Garlic clove, the pureed Beets and grated Potato with a generous sprinkle of Spice, made up of Cloves, Mace and Peppercorns. Allow to cook gently until any residue liquid from the beetroot puree has disappeared and mixture is ‘coming away’ from the pan. Season with salt to taste.
Note it will be a little ‘gloopy’ and slightly sticky than ‘fluffy’. Allow to cool completely.
There are a handful of herbs that compliment these sweet earthy beetroots, where used raw or cooked. If I had, in my herb garden, at this time of the year, I would have happily used one of the following Coriander, Dill or Fennel to make my Oil. I have Sage and Thyme which would work perfectly well too, but I opted for a herb we do not get readily, Tarragon and has a fantastic Star Anise flavour, which will compliment the Beetroot perfectly.
To make the Oil, pick and place just the young fresh leaves of Tarragon in a mortar with a pinch of salt (to help pestle bruise and break down the tarragon leaves easily). Pound and in a few minutes leaves will have broken down, add a little oil at a time, crushing the leaving in a circular motion, continuously. for the above I made 100ml of Oil, or you could make it thicker and make less the amount, it will come down to taste preference.
Note: this oil will keep for up to 10 days, in the fridge, and can be used as salad dressing with a dash lime juice added to the dressing.
With my sleeves rolled up, large heavy chopping board dusted with some flour, rolling pin in hand. The task begins.
With a ‘roll down’ motion only (oh I listened and made notes at my masterclass!); roll the dough until you get really thin Pasta. At this time did I think of buying a Pasta Machine? no I didn’t. I actually enjoyed the process, and I am left wondering why I never made Pasta sheets for my Lasagne or hand made Tagliatelle. I am never buying fresh pasta again!
I rolled until I could almost see my hand through it. Use the rim edge of a Wine glass (my biscuit cutter was too small for this next task) to cut out circles for the filling. Gently press and the pasta circle will come away in the glass, tap and it will fall back down. Repeat process. Dough was enough to make 20 Ravioli. In a tray sprinkle generously with Semolina and have a tea towel handy to cover.
Place a little (just shy of half a teaspoon) beet filling in the middle of the circle pasta and with a finger deep into water and dab half the pasta edge. Now carefully fold without getting any of the filling onto the edge. Press firmly all around, the pasta should be sealed completely. Sprinkle a little Semolina on the Beet filled Turmeric Ravioli; now place it in the Semolina sprinkled tray and cover with tea towel. This will stop them from drying out too quickly whilst finishing the rest of the Ravioli.
Boil a Pan of water with a little salt added to it, drop the Ravioli, a few at a time. Since they are fresh , cooking these will only take a few minutes. Once they surface to the top, give it a minute and removw carefully with a slotted spoon onto a warm plate. Drizzle with Tarragon Oil and a generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.