Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots
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These Beet Ricotta Sacchetti feature homemade beet-infused pasta fashioned into wee parcels. The pasta gives way to a creamy whipped ricotta filling punctuated with fresh garlic and preserved lemon. After a brief stint in salted, boiling water, the sacchetti is tossed in a chilli-infused brown butter sauce and topped with crisp pea shoots. If you’re thinking “That sounds labor-intensive”, you are not wrong. But I have to tell you, these babies are well worth the effort. Plus, they freeze like a dream, so it pays to stock up. 

A whole beet drizzled with olive oil on a piece of tin foil on a cutting board.

I realize this is a strange time to unveil what I like to call a “kitchen project” but these Beet Ricotta Sacchetti are just that. I usually reserve projects for the winter when it is blustery and frigid and cozying up next to the stove just makes good sense. But here I am at the beginning of June with the sun streaming through my windows folding tiny fuschia parcels. Oh, and I’m encouraging you to do the same. Do I have a good reason for this? Not really. But in my defense, this dish screams “spring” not “February”, so you can see the bind I’m in.

Ingredients for the beet pasta ready to be mixed.

The first thing we’re going to do is roast a beet. This is the simplest thing in the world. Preheat the oven to 400°F and scrub a raw, medium-sized beet. Pierce it all over with a fork and place it in the center of a piece of tin foil. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Wrap the tinfoil tightly around the beet and pop it in the oven with a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips. Roast for one hour or until the beet is fork-tender. Unwrap and let cool.

Whipped ricotta filling in a bowl.

When the beet is cool enough to handle, peel it. Quarter the beet and place it in a food processor. Add some olive oil and blitz until very smooth. Set it aside. In a large bowl whisk to combine all-purpose and semolina flour and a bit of salt. I added more all-purpose flour and less semolina than usual this time around. I like semolina-rich pasta when I’m making linguine or fettuccine. But years of trial and error have taught me that you want a little more flexibility in a pasta you intend to fill. I didn’t bust a single sacchetti using this pasta and that is a first for me. I’m thinking I will have to revisit my Agnolotti recipes and give them a little tune-up next.

Rolling the beet pasta out on the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment.

Once the dry ingredients for the pasta are combined, form a well in the center. Add three egg yolks and two whole eggs. Pour in the beet puree and whisk to combine, gradually introducing the dry ingredients to the wet. When a shaggy dough begins to form ditch the whisk and the spoon and knead it with your hands until smooth. The dough will be dense but slightly tacky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

The beet pasta cut into circles with a dollop of whipped ricotta on top of each.

While the dough is resting, we can tackle the whipped ricotta filling. Place the garlic and preserved lemon rind in a food processor. Blitz until they resemble mulch. Add a tub of ricotta cheese (full-fat, please, and thank you) and half a cup of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. Turn the food processor on and stream in a quarter cup of olive oil. Continue to blitz until very silky.

Divide the rested beet dough into eight evenly-sized pieces. Roll each piece out until very thin. I rolled mine out to a number 4 on my Kitchen Aid pasta attachment. You should be able to see the outline of your hand through the piece of pasta. Take each sheet of pasta and cut a series of 3″ circles out of them using a biscuit cutter.

Folding the pasta into sacchetti.

Transfer the whipped ricotta to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe dollops of the ricotta mixture in the center of each pasta round. Fold the pasta in half over the ricotta, pinching in the center to make a half-moon shape. Scrunch both ends toward the center to create a series of ruffles. Pinch in the center to form a money-bag-esque shape. Repeat until all of the pasta is filled. This video is a helpful guide. It’s best to work with a single sheet of pasta at a time and to keep the remaining sheets covered so they don’t dry out.

A tray of Beet Ricotta Sacchetti ready for the freezer.

Arrange the Beet Ricotta Sacchetti on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer them to the freezer. Freeze them for an hour before transferring them to a freezer bag and freezing them overnight. I like to freeze my Sacchetti before cooking them because they are less delicate to work with. But you can also cook them as quickly as you form them. Just make sure to cook them in well-salted, boiling water for three minutes. Any longer and they will be overdone and on the verge of falling apart.

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots

While you’re waiting for the water to boil and your pasta to cook, you can start building their sauce. In a small skillet, melt a couple of pats of butter until lightly golden. Pour in some olive oil to prevent burning. Next, add some minced garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes. I went with a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes because I like a little heat. But you can reduce the amount to half a teaspoon and still get a pretty good kick.

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots

Take your cooked sacchetti directly from their cooking liquid and add them to the skillet. Make sure the heat is low and shake the pan to toss the pasta in the sauce. Once the pasta is coated, arrange the sacchetti on a plate. Spoon some additional sauce over the pasta and garnish with fresh pea shoots and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. And that’s your pasta done!

I realize these Beet Ricotta Sacchetti are a bit of a journey but I do think it is one worth taking. And don’t forget, you can make a small army of Sacchetti in one day, freeze them, and have Sacchetti on demand all month long. Now, that’s what I call investing in yourself.

Enjoy!

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti with Pea Shoots

These Beet Ricotta Sacchetti feature delicate beet pasta parcels filled with whipped ricotta and topped with crisp fresh pea shoots.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Equipment

  • 1 pasta maker or Kitchen Aid pasta attachment
  • 1 piping bag
  • 1 large round tip
  • 1 Large skillet
  • 1 3" biscuit cutter

Ingredients
  

Beet Pasta

  • 1 medium-sized beet scrubbed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 280g (10oz) all-purpose flour
  • 115g (4oz) semolina flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs

Whipped Ricotta Filling

  • 1 preserved lemon flesh removed, rind coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 475g (16oz) tub full-fat ricotta
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shredded
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Beet Ricotta Sacchetti

  • 1 batch Beet Pasta see above
  • 1 batch Whipped Ricotta see above
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes **
  • cups pea shoots
  • Parmigiano Reggiano shaved, for sprinkling

Instructions
 

For the Pasta

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Pierce the beet all over with a fork. Place it in the center of a piece of tin foil. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Wrap the tin foil around the beet and place it in the oven with a baking sheet underneath it to catch any drips. Roast for 1 hour or until very tender.
    1 medium-sized beet
  • Take the beet out of the oven and unwrap it. Let cool slightly. When the beet is cool enough to handle, peel and quarter it. Pop the quarters into a food processor. Add the olive oil and blitz until very smooth. Set the puree aside.
    ¼ cup olive oil
  • In a large bowl, whisk to combine the all-purpose and semolina flour and salt. Form a well in the center of the mixture and add the egg yolks, eggs, and the beet puree. Whisk to combine. Switch to a spoon and begin gradually integrating the dry ingredients into the wet.
    280g (10oz) all-purpose flour, 115g (4oz) semolina flour, 1 tsp salt, 3 egg yolks, 2 eggs
  • Once a rough dough forms, knead it by hand until smooth. The dough should feel dense and lightly tacky to the touch. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into eight even pieces. Working with a piece at a time, roll each bit of dough out into thin sheets using either a pasta maker or the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment. If you're using a pasta attachment, I rolled mine out to a #4. Dust the sheets with semolina flour and keep the sheets and pieces of dough covered to prevent them from drying out.

For the Filling

  • Place the preserved lemon and garlic in a food processor. Blitz until it resembles mulch. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, and salt. Turn the food processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil. Blitz until very smooth. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a round tip.
    1 preserved lemon, 1 clove garlic, 475g (16oz) tub full-fat ricotta, ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, ½ tsp salt, ¼ cup olive oil

For the Beet Sacchetti

  • Working with a sheet at a time, cut a series of circles out of the beet pasta using a 3" biscuit cutter. Pipe heaping teaspoon-sized dollops of the whipped ricotta in the center of each circle. Fold the circles in half to form a half-moon shape, pinching in the center. Gather the ends towards the center to form ruffles. Pinch to seal.
    1 batch Beet Pasta, 1 batch Whipped Ricotta
  • At this point, you can either cook the sacchetti in salted, boiling water for 3 minutes or you can transfer the finished sacchetti to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place it in the freezer. Freeze for 1 hour before transferring them to a freezer bag for longer-term storage. You can cook the sacchetti from frozen the same way you cook them when fresh. ***
  • When the sacchetti hit the boiling water, melt butter in a large skillet until lightly browned. Add the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant. Turn the heat to low and add the freshly cooked sacchetti to the skillet. Toss to coat.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes **
  • Transfer the sacchetti to a plate and spoon some additional sauce over top. Garnish with the pea shoots and the Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately.
    1½ cups pea shoots, Parmigiano Reggiano

Notes

** If you don’t particularly like spicy food, knock the crushed red pepper flakes back to 1/2 teaspoon or omit it altogether. 
*** I find frozen sacchetti is less delicate to work with than fresh. But I also understand impatience, so whether you choose to freeze or power through, I support you. 
Keyword beets, brown butter, Garlic, pea shoots, ricotta

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