Valentine’s Day is approaching, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a sweet ravioli dessert for two…or even better for one so you can have it all to yourself.
Dark chocolate, bright red fruit, luxurious pasta, a decadent dessert….everything you’d typically find when cooking a valentine’s dinner. But this time, the pasta is the sweet finish to the meal, not the savory side dish.
I’ve made a dark chocolate pasta dough, using cocao powder (I use the Navitas Naturals brand), which is super rich and intense. The dough gets made just like any other pasta dough (mix, knead, rest, roll, cut, cook), but I’ve substituted some of the flour with the cocao powder. The one thing to watch is the texture. I’ve found that the cocao powder can make the dough a little bit drier than usual, so keep a bowl of water nearby to add in small increments if needed. Knead the dough well, don’t skimp on the time. Be gentle while rolling, the dough can crack easily. And above all, keep any dough you aren’t working with completely covered to prevent it from drying out.
The rest of this recipe is quite simple. The ricotta filling just gets whisked up. Make it before you start the dough, though, so that it can firm up in the fridge for a bit. The raspberry sauce is all about consistency. If you reduce too much liquid when cooking it, just add a little more water to the pan. You can also add more water while blending if needed. If the sauce is too thin after blending, return it to a simmer and continue to reduce before straining.
The most important part of any dish for a special occasion, in my opinion, is the plating. You want it to look like something you wouldn’t eat just any day. You want it to be something out of the ordinary.
Here are my 4 tips to plating for special occasions:
• Arrange the food in layers, don’t just plop it on the plate. Start with the main item, gently spoon the sauce over top, and lightly sprinkle your garnishes to finish
• Use bright colors that complement each other
• Work with different shapes and create height
• Purposefully pick your garnishes so that the flavors and textures enhance the dish (think salty with sweet or crunchy with soft)
- 8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6.4 oz all-purpose flour
- 1.6 oz cocao powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp water
- 6 oz raspberries
- 1 ½ oz sugar
- ¼ cup water
- pinch of salt
- melted dark chocolate
- toasted, chopped pistachios
- powdered sugar
- Whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the beaten egg. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Sift together the flour, cocao powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the beaten eggs and water. Once the dough starts to form, use your hands to continue to form it, adding more water if needed. When you have a dough ball, transfer it to a flour dusted work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, using your hands to press and fold it continuously. Shape the dough into an even ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for an hour.
- Cut the dough ball into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep any dough you are not working with completely covered so it doesn’t dry out), use a pasta machine or pasta roller attachment to roll out the dough. Start on the thickest setting, and pass the dough a few times through the machine. From there, pass the dough one time through each setting, working downwards. Stop rolling when the dough has formed a very thin sheet, about 1/16 of an inch. To form the ravioli, place the sheet of dough in front of you horizontally on a floured surface. Spoon a little mound of ricotta filling in the left corner of the bottom half of the sheet, leaving enough space around it. Continue down the sheet of ravioli to the right, leaving about 1” of space between each spoonful. Brush around the ricotta with water. Use a ravioli cutter to slice between each filling. One by one, fold the top half of the dough sheet over, working gently so the filling stays in the middle. Press around the edges to seal, trying to release any air pockets within the middle. Trim the three sides of the ravioli into an even rectangle. Repeat this process with all of the dough, lining up the ravioli onto a floured sheet tray. Cook the ravioli in a pot of salted, boiling water. Once they float to the top, remove them with a slotted spoon.
- While the ravioli dough rests, combine the raspberries, sugar, water, and salt in a sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced slightly. Blend the sauce, pass it through a strainer, and keep warm until ready to serve. Fold in a few fresh raspberries at the very end.
- Serve the ravioli on a plate with a spoonful of raspberry sauce, a generous drizzle of melted dark chocolate, a sprinkle of pistachios, and a light dusting of powdered sugar.