Beet Ravioli with Butternut Squash Sauce

“Accident prone” is the appropriate phrase used to describe 98% of my mishaps. All of you have a friend (or eight) who is constantly breaking a bone, going over the handle bars, or stepping on the one piece of glass in 80-square miles. Yesterday was an ordinary day other than me flooding the master bedroom of the house I babysit at in Truckee.

It began with turning the knob of the tub filler to give the two munchkins a bath, and ended with an insurance claim (on the part of the home owner…ouch). I turn the hot handle of the tub to get the water going, then go to add in some cold water when I notice water is leaking out of the escutcheon (the part of the faucet handle that connects to the valve…I used to work at a plumbing company, thankyouverymuch). Hmm..strange. I turn the handle to shut the water off and thus stop the (tiny) leak, but the water does not turn off. Righty tighty, lefty loosey, righty tightly, lefty loosey…I’m definitely turning the knob the right way. Putting my favorite figure of speech to use: ALL OF A SUDDEN, the entire handle (escutcheon and all) blows off, and water is now shooting out of where the handle used to be, up to the ceiling like a geyser, and scaring the crap out of the two small children I’m responsible for until 8:30pm. Thankfully it’s only 6:30…I hope this house has a lot of extra towels. Oh. My. God. This is not a tiny leak. This is a water feature. And this water feature is being displayed all over the master bedroom carpet.

Let the drama begin. I call my mother, keeper of all that is good, and request a plumber. STAT! What follows is an immense amount of running around and sending out texts, reading “CALL ASAP” and “Emergency!” All things occurring at once (I’m pretty sure I was able to rent a clone momentarily…thanks adrenaline!), I twist the handle back onto the valve, turning off the flow to the water feature (geyser), and usher the children upstairs to read to each other. Keep in mind, the water is still flowing into the bathtub out of the tub filler, even though the water feature has been dismantled. You may or may not know that fixtures manufactures now put flow restrictors on faucets and shower heads in order to save water. Not only is there no flow restrictor on this particular tub filler, but the flow rate is class five. The pressure from about two and a half feet of water inside the tub is pushing down the tub drain, sealing off the exit. So I am now pulling up on the tub drain to ensure the water does not overflow the bathtub. Dear faucet manufacturers: If for no other reason than to preserve precious water on this planet, please include flow restrictors on ALL faucets and shower heads in case I happen to touch them.

I’m calling the woman I babysit for. I’m texting the plumber…I’m calling the plumber. I’m asking the plumber where the water supply shut-off valve is. Can’t find it, and can’t leave the tub for more than a minute or else overflow is imminent. The access panel to the tub filler is tiled in…thanks to the mastermind behind that “oops.” Typically, plumbers leave access to the tub filler and the jacuzzi motor in case one or both need maintenance…or in case a nanny decides to wreak a little havoc. No such luck, looks like I have to wait it out and continue to pull up on the drain. So now that I am glued to the tub drain, I have some time to think. These are my two thoughts: this is so going to cost more than 50 bucks and I hope the kids I’m watching are not running down the street naked instead of waiting in their room for further instruction. Thanks to a great deal of awesome parenting, the latter was the case, luckily not the former.

The clouds part and the plumber shows up with a huge smile on his face. Either he is naturally a happy person or he is getting a little chuckle out of the drowned rat who’s up to her shoulder in bathwater. He finds the water main immediately and I scramble upstairs to do my job. By the time I get the girls to bed and begin mopping up the mess I’ve created, the woman I sit for looks at her phone, sees my frantic texts and comes home to a nice big pile of oh-my-god-I’m-so-sorry. I generally consider myself a very lucky person, and this evening was no exception. Not only was she not upset with me, but was apologetic for me having to “deal” with the flood AND offers me a glass of wine (or a shot of tequilla). I, feeling like the person who steps in dog poo and then tracks it through the house, happily oblige. We spend the next hour and a half having a great chat in the kitchen…most of which has nothing to do with water.

The plumber (Danny G of GPI Plumbing in Truckee) explains to both of us that he’s seen this exact problem with this exact tub filler multiple times…in fact, he just last week fixed a house at Northstar with the same issue, but much bigger mess. He also explains home owners insurance is great about covering this stuff, and like a busy bee, takes the master bedroom apart to get fans underneath the carpet to undo my doing. It amazes me when people are able to keep composure when those around them are falling apart. It was nothing short of miraculous that Danny was the on-call plumber…think of him first if you need a plumber! Let this be a lesson learned to all: Know where your water shut-off valve is to turn the water off to your house!

All of this to say, there are times in life when accidents happen and going with the flow is your best friend. And after our nerves have calmed, let’s raise a glass to great post-flood conversations in the kitchen, great friends, understanding people, and going with the flow!

Now for the good stuff: just as I “stumbled” into a flood, I “accidently” created a half-way decent ravioli out of beets. BEETS! Yes, I did intend to make raviolis, though I did not expect them to be good. Note, this is version 1.0 and version 2.0 will follow when I decide it’s time to make root raviolis again. If you are brave enough to try this, I strongly recommend being the owner of a meat slicer to get your beets sliced thin enough, or at least be prepared to potentially end up with a very al dente ravioli.

Roots of choice: Beets and celery root

Ingredients:

For the sauce

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sauted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt, black, and red pepper to taste
  • freshly chopped basil and grated parmesan for garnishing

For the ravioli filling

  • 2 celery roots, steamed and blended
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bushel green onion (4 stalks), finely chopped
  • 8 baby portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 strips of thin proscuitto or bacon, finely chopped

For the ravioli

  • 1 large red beet (ours was about 4″ in diameter), thinly sliced
  • 1 egg white, beaten until foamy

To make:

The sauce: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half hot dog style and scoop out seeds. Lightly coat squash meat with olive oil and place face-down in a casserole dish. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until meat is soft. Saute onion and garlic over medium heat until golden brown. Place the sauteed items in a blender/food processor and once the squash is ready and cool enough to handle, scoop all of the meat out of the skin and place in blender, too. Add the can of diced tomatoes, the coconut milk, salt and pepper and blend thoroughly. Dump sauce in asaucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes (the longer, the better). If the sauce is too thick foryour taste, add chicken/vegetable stock to desired consistency.

The filling: Remove the celery roots from the stalks, peel the skin off and run under cold water to make sure all the gook is off. Chop roots into quarters and steam for 15 – 20 minutes. Once the celery is soft, and puree in a blender with a dash of salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms, green onion and proscuitto over medium heat and add the celery root puree, mixing the ingredients together well. Remove from heat and set aside.

The raviolis: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place the thinly-sliced raviolis on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. If you’re a pro slicer and end up with super thin slices, oil the slices too! Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Pull the cookie sheet out, flip the raviolis over with a pair of tongs (there should be beet juice seeping out, that’s normal), and place in the oven again for another 15 minutes. The goal is to keep the beets soft, not crunchy like chips. Once you’ve achieved desired softness, begin stuffing the raviolis. Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of half the beet slices. You’re using the egg whites to help seal the raviolis, so dip your fingers in the egg white and run them across the perimeter of a beet slice with filling on it. Place another slice of beet on top and press down, encasing the filling. Repeat this for all slices of beet. Place raviolis back in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Clearly, you’ll have to make your own judgement calls regarding how long to bake the slices and how long to bake the raviolis…it all boils down to how thick the slices of beet are and how soft you want your ravioli. Ours definitely came out on the al dente side and I thought the butternut squash sauce was not the best pairing for the filling. I thought a cream sauce would have been the best pair, but I don’t really do cream sauces, so the next best option would be a basic marinara sauce. Since this is a work-intensive recipe, you can definitely save yourself some time by using your favorite store-bought sauce. I was pleased with the way these bad boys turned out, but I will say my goal for version 2.0 is to achieve a softer “ravioli” and flavors that pair a little better. Even though this recipe is made out of almost all vegetable matter, it is really filling! Both the celery root and the squash sauce made this a heavy meal – excellent comfort food!

Now for the nutrition part. Other than the vitamins and minerals contained in the roots, the butternut squash (should you choose to use it) packs a mighty Vitamin A punch. Only 205 grams of this squash provides you with over 400% of the Vitamin A you need for the day. Vitamin A is great for your eyes and skin, so besides serving as a savory fall meal, this plate will provide you with an unprecedented amount of nutrients! Also, this meal can easily be made paleo if you simply don’t garnish it with parmesan cheese!

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