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Beetroot, balsamic and macadamia cheese ravioli with basil oil

Entertaining friends with food intolerances? This raw dinner party dish, from Megan May, is sure to impress

by Psychologies

beetroot pasta

This raw dinner party dish uses marinated beetroot (beets), herbed macadamia and cashew cheese with basil oil. Serve with a side of salad greens.

Make time: 30 minutes + component recipes | Marinating time: 2 hours | Serves: 4 | Equipment required: mandoline

1–2 large beetroots (beets) (we used organic red beetroot; use any colour you have available)

¼ tsp sea salt

50 ml balsamic vinegar

1 finely crushed garlic clove

60 ml basil oil or cold-pressed olive oil

1 cup herbed macadamia cheese

garnish – 80g  mesclun salad leaves, 3 tbsp chopped basil and chives, freshly cracked pepper, basil oil or cold-pressed olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar

  1. Using a mandoline, finely slice the beetroot into thin rounds (make sure these are paper-thin otherwise the texture will be difficult to work with, but not so thin that they break). Marinate in a bowl with the sea salt, balsamic, garlic and basil oil (or olive oil) for around 2 hours, making sure you have some basil oil left over for garnish.
  2. Lay the sliced beetroot out individually; place approximately 1 small tablespoon of the herbed macadamia cheese filling in the centre of each piece and place another beetroot piece over top, pressing around the sides to seal.
  3. Place 4–5 pieces of ravioli on a plate, garnish with a side of mesclun mixed with the finely sliced chives and basil and top the dish with cracked pepper. Drizzle with the reserved basil oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

TIP: Flavoured oils

Herb oils add a vibrant garnish to many dishes. We haven’t specified which herbs to use as most fresh varieties with soft, brightly coloured leaves work well. We most often use basil and chives.

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of cold-pressed olive oil (a neutral or butter-flavoured olive oil is preferable)

2 large handfuls loosely packed fresh herbs

Equipment required: blender

  1. Prepare a mixing bowl filled with iced water and place another mixing bowl inside it. Blend the oil and herbs on high until warm but not hot – this will activate the chlorophyll in the leaf. Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl you have already immersed in ice water (you want to cool it down quickly to lock in the colour that you’ve activated through blending). Strain through a fine chinois strainer or sieve lined with cheese cloth and leave to strain overnight.
  2. Keep the oil in a jar in the refrigerator for several weeks or until it loses its bright green colour.

 

TIP: macadamia and cashew herb cheese

This is a fresh herbed cheese similar in flavour to a herby Boursin. You can use it in lots of ways: as a dip, spread, in ravioli and in our zucchini cannelloni.

Make time: 20 minutes | Soak time: 2–4 hours | Equipment required: blender or food processor

155 g (1 cup) cashews (soaked 2–4 hours)

75 g (½ cup) macadamia nuts (soaked 2–4 hours)

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) filtered water

60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) lemon juice

2 tsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp finely diced shallot

1 tbsp finely chopped chervil

1/3 tsp sea salt

 

  1. Drain the soaked nuts and rinse thoroughly. Place in a food processor (you could use a blender but this will require more water to get it moving and create a runnier cheese) with the water, lemon juice and nutritional yeast and mix until smooth.
  2. Finely chop all the herbs and fold in, add sea salt. Add any additional sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.

Photograph: Lottie Hedley

Recipes are taken from The Unbakery by Megan May (Murdoch Books, £20)