Alright here we go again. I really need to start making videos to spare my fingers some typing. Welcome to the latest of the new selection of recipes called Caster's Selection. These are basically recipes that are a little more challenging that need a bit of time to work out, but also, that require a bit of being flamboyant - many of the ingredients won't be exact, and will rely on you, and your tongue. I won't be listing tools for this recipe - I assume if you're this far, you'll know what to use!
So this one is the first of the bunch, a braised beef cheek and oregano ravioli with roasted sweet potato. We'll be rolling with about 400gm of pasta, which will make about 60 ravioli, so anywhere between 4-6 people. You'll probably have sauce leftover - use it with anything sweet and starchy - use it with roast sweet potato or pumpkin, it'll go down a treat. Let's get into the nitty gritty.
400-500g of 00 flour
2 Golden Sweet Potato
250g Goat Feta Cheese
Fresh Mint. Lots.
Rice Bran Oil
1 Red Onion
3 Medium White Onions, finely sliced
5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
White Wine Vinegar
5 Ripe tomatoes (nearing overripe) roughly chopped
1 Beef Cheek
DOWN TO BUSINESS. This dish has elements that can sit- which works in our favour, because there is never a collossal amount to do at any one time. So first, we'll knock the ravioli filling on the head. It's incredibly simple.
You can do this in the in a pot or a pressure cooker. Take you beef cheek, and slice it into manageable sized pieces, across the grain. I did them about 1.5cm wide per slice. Brown them in a pot or pressure cooker with a little bit of rice bran oil. Roughly chop the tomatoes, add to the beef along with the finely sliced white onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon of molasses, a heaped tablespoon of dried oregano and a splash of white wine vinegar. Stir over a medium heat until the onions are translucent and meat starts to brown. Cover with water, and either simmer until meat is tender, or cook under pressure for 45-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta.
On medium speed in a blender, blend 3 large eggs and 1 medium beetroot until it's a fine puree - there should be no lumps.
Pour 400g of flour on the bench into a pile and push a well into the middle.
Pour the mixture from the blender into the well into the middle. Integrate the flour into the mixture slowly with a fork. It will become too thick to stir, so at that point either get stuck in with your hands or a dough cutter and really work the dough hard. Knead the dough until it's springy, and smooth to the touch. Cover and let it rest for 20 minutes.
During this twenty minutes, peel the sweet potato, and cut into shards- I like interesting wedges because it caus the texture/crispiness to be different from bite to bite. Toss in olive oil, minced garlic, and a splash of vinegar, and roast on 190 C for 20 minutes.
Check the meat. You want it falling apart tender and the sauce reduced all the way down to the bare essentials - basically, flaked meat in a super thick sauce/paste. Salt and pepper to taste.
Roll the dough out to sheets on size 6 thickness. Make the ravioli with little balls of the meat between sheets of pasta, and cut with a ravioli wheel, ravioli tablet, hell, even a cookie cutter is fine! Transfer to a floured surface, ready to cook.
Get a pot of water boiling for the ravioli.
Halve your courgettes, lengthways. Dip each of them into boiling water until the green blooms bright, then transfer straight to the blender. With the courgettes, add the feta cheese, a quarter cup of olive oil, and 5-6 mint leaves. Blend until smooth. Taste - it may need more mint. The sweetness of the beetroot pasta will provide a nice accompaniment.
Finally, in a frying pan on a medium heat, add a lug or two of rice bran oil - enough to coat the bottom of the pan in a thickish layer. Carefully place whole mint leaves in and cook until they go dark. Take them out gently - you'll see they're dark, translucent and crispy. Set them aside for plating.
Boil the ravioli, toss them in olive oil. Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven. Plate anyway you see fit with a nice lashing of the feta and courgette sauce. Top with crispy mint leaves and shaved parmesan.
Double cheese. Bloody delicious!