- 4 cups all-purpose flour,
- 4 eggs
- 1 cups frozen beetroot, thawed
- 8 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 21/2 ounces herb goat cheese
- 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Walnuts, for garnish
- 2 slices stale bread
- 5 tablespoons salted butter
- Herbs, for garnish, optional
Combine about 2 1/2 cups of flour gradually with 3 eggs to form the fresh pasta dough. Once the dough begins to come together, knead for about 10 minutes, form into a ball, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes, tightly wrapped. If the dough feels too dry, add very small increments of water until it is smooth and firm (it should not be sticky or flaky).
Similarly, for the beetroot dough, puree 1 cup of cooked beets with 1 whole egg in a blender until very smooth (I used thawed frozen beetroot slices). Add the puree gradually to the remaining flour until the dough comes together (you may not need all of it). Knead vigorously for about 10 minutes, form a ball, and set aside to rest, tightly wrapped.
For the filling, combine ricotta and goat cheese with the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.
To create the patterned pasta, roll out a portion of plain egg dough (about 1/4 of the ball) into a thin sheet (setting 6 on a Marcato home pasta roller) and set aside, covered by a damp cloth or a layer of plastic wrap. Roll about 1/4 of the beetroot dough into an equally thin sheet and cut it into strips crosswise. Unwrap the egg dough, place it lengthwise on a floured surface, and arrange the beetroot strips vertically on top. Brush a small amount of water on the back of each beetroot strip and press down firmly to seal on top of the egg dough. Cut the decorated sheet crosswise into smaller sections (about 6 inches wide) and roll each carefully back through the pasta roller on a wider setting (I used setting 4) so the pattern sets. Use the remaining portions of dough to create additional patterned or solid-colored pasta sheets, as desired.
To shape the mezzalune, take a pasta sheet (this equally applies to plain egg, beetroot, and patterned pasta), fold in half lengthwise, and dot 1 teaspoon of cheese filling across the midpoint, about 1 inch apart. Brush a small amount of water around the filling, then fold the top half of the sheet over the filling and press firmly to remove air bubbles and seal. Using a cookie cutter or ravioli cutter, cut half moons from the sheet, creating a hand pie-like pocket. If desired, trim the edges with a fluted cutter. Place finished mezzalune on a well-floured plate or surface. Repeat this process until all the pasta sheets and filling have been used.
In a dry, nonstick pan, toast a handful of roughly chopped walnuts over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside. Similarly, rip a slice or two of day-old bread into small pieces. Fry in olive oil or butter over medium heat until crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, brown 4-5 tablespoons of salted butter over medium heat (cook gently until frothy and golden brown). Add walnuts and cooked mezzalune to brown butter and toss to coat. Serve topped with breadcrumbs, torn flat leaf parsely, chives, or whatever herbs you have.