Savory AND Sweet
BY TOM YATES
Like most of the special occasions we’ve navigated over the past year, Valentine’s Day will be different. However, unlike those other special occasions, Valentine’s Day isn’t a crowd fest. Loosened restrictions now allow our local restaurants (with fabulous service and fare) to offer limited dine-in service. Better yet, with social distancing and the required table spacing, romantic privacy is built right into the mix. No crowded bars or long table wait times. Dinner for two peas in a pod. Different. Safe. Special. That said, if dining out is off the table, curbside, carryout, or delivery is the way to go for romancing at-home. In any case, there must always be chocolate. Splurge on beautiful pastries from a local bakery, snag heart-shaped boxes filled with assorted chocolates, or scratch make a heartfelt Valentine’s treat. Go big or go small. Chocolate is chocolate. And chocolate always wins.
Chocolate Ravioli With Sweetened Mascarpone.
Not chocolate filled ravioli. Chocolate pasta ravioli.
With hints of sweetness balancing the soft bittersweet undertones of dark chocolate, chocolate pasta is a perfect foil for sweet fillings and sauces.
I sifted 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup unsweetened dark dark cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until blended. After adding a pinch of salt, I made a well in the center of the flour and cracked 3 large eggs into the well. After gradually pulling the flour and eggs together until it form a shaggy dough, I pulled the dough together and kneaded it on a clean work surface for 10 minutes until it was smooth and pliable I shaped the dough into a disc, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and slid it into the refrigerator to rest and chill.
While the dough took a break, I whipped together 8 ounces room temperature mascarpone cheese, 1/4
cup superfine sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, and a splash of fresh lemon. I set the filling aside and pulled the dough from the refrigerator to take the chill off.
I used a bench scraper to divide the dough into 1/4 sections. Working with one section at a time, while keeping the remaining dough covered, I used a hand cranked pasta machine to roll the dough. After flattening the dough to fit the width of the pasta roller, I rolled it through the largest setting 3 times, folding it in half after each pass. When the dough became soft and easy to work with, I rolled the dough through each setting, lowering the setting after each pass and ending before the thinnest setting.
While ravioli is simple enough to fill, fold, seal, and cut without a ravioli mold, I used a mold because…well…I had one. They’re easy to use, and roll out consistent shaped raviolis.
I draped one pasta sheet over the mold, letting the excess dough hang over the edge, and gently formed pockets in each ravioli well. I pulled the filling from the refrigerator, filled a pastry bag with the filling (small spooned dollops would have worked as well), and piped the mascarpone filling into each well. After covering the filling and pasta with another pasta sheet, I carefully pressed the between filled well to seal the dough, and used a rolling pin to press the sheets together against the serrated edges to seal and cut the ravioli. After removing the excess dough from the edges, I popped the ravioli out of the mold.
Cooked at a gentle boil for 8-10 minutes, they’re fabulous straight up or dolled up with chocolate ganache and fresh berries.
A chocolate Ravioli Valentine makes this celebration special.
This article also appears on page 16 of the February 2021 print edition of ace magazine.
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