JWU Recipes: Heart-Shaped Beet Ravioli

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by making a plate of heart-shaped ravioli? Beets supply the natural color here, along with a luxurious filling of whipped ricotta, spinach and lemon zest. Never made pasta from scratch before? Not to worry — four-year Culinary Arts students Meghan Schulte '25 and Antoinnea Stubbs '24 will take you through the step-by-step process from start to finish!

Get to Know Your Dough

Gaining confidence in making pasta dough takes time. One key thing you need to be very aware of when mixing your flour and your liquid ingredients is not adding too much flour — be careful to only add enough to make your dough ball cohere.

At the start of making your dough, use a fork to gradually incorporate most of the flour gradually into the eggs. Once the dough starts to stiffen up, start working it with your fingers, so that you can feel the dough coming together. Add a small amount of beet juice if you need a bit more liquid, but be careful not to add too much. A little goes a long way! Knead the dough for 10 minutes to really activate the gluten. And make sure to let it rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Meghan and Antoinnea roll out the pasta dough.

For rolling, a simple hand-cranked extruder-style pasta maker is a great tool, but you can also roll out the dough by hand using a rolling pin or even a wine bottle. Just know that you will need to work a little harder to get it to the desired thinness needed for the ravioli — you should be able to see the shadow of your hand through it.

Making the Ravioli

For making the ravioli, Meghan explains that you want to two equal pieces of dough. Portion heaping teaspoons of the filling at equal intervals along your first piece of dough, then lay the other sheet of pasta on top so it roughly lines up. Gently press the dough around the filling base to seal each ravioli tightly. Flour your cookie cutter, then really press it down and shimmy it a little bit to get a clean cut around your ravioli. You can crimp the edges with a fork if you like.

If they are going to sit out for a bit while you make something else, make sure they are sitting on a floured surface. You don’t want them to stick! A bit of flour should make them easy to slide into the pasta water once you’re ready to cook them.

A note about the beet juice: In its raw form, it’s the most vibrant magenta hue. But that color fades as the ravioli is processed and cooked. Ideally, you should end up with a dusky pink color — perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Add the Finishing Touches

Brown butter sauce with garlic and herbs on the stove top.A brown-butter sauce scented with garlic and herbs is a simple way to dress these ravioli. It showcases the pasta and is decadent without being cloying.

Cut a stick of butter into uniform pieces. Add the butter to a light-colored skillet (you want to be able to see the butter changing color) over medium heat. Split two garlic cloves in half. Add the garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary in the pan. Swirl the butter to coat the garlic and herbs.

When browning butter, Ant notes, “The butter will do its thing. Just let it percolate along. As soon as it starts to smell nutty, take it off the heat. It can go from brown to burnt in no time, so you’ve got to watch it closely!”

Finish with some freshly grated Parmesan (splash out for a small piece of the best Parm you can find) and a few sprigs of herbs (tarragon or rosemary).

Method: Fresh Beet Juice


1 red beet


1. Boil beet until tender.
2. Let the beet cool; then peel.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Strain the mixture to avoid any leftover residue.

Recipe: Ricotta Filling

Yield: 4 servings


1 cup ricotta
1 egg
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Saute spinach until wilted.
2. Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl until well incorporated. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

JWU Providence culinary student Meghan Schulte cutting heart-shaped ravioli out of sheets of pasta.Recipe: Heart-Shaped Ravioli

Yield: 4 servings

2 cups AP (all-purpose) flour
2 large eggs
4-6 tablespoons beet juice (method below)


1. In a bowl, whisk your eggs with the beet juice until well mixed.

2. In a large nonreactive bowl, add the flour and make a well in the middle.

3. Pour the egg and beet mixture into the well and start mixing it into the flour a little at a time with a fork until it roughly comes together.

4. Pour your mixture out onto a well-floured clean surface, then bring it together by kneading it for about 10 minutes. You will feel the dough become easier to work with by the end of this process. If the dough is just too stiff to work with, you can add a little bit of water (or more of the beet juice) a tablespoon at a time.

5. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces with a sharp knife or pastry knife. Roll out one half of the dough and keep the other half covered.

7. Take one piece and run it through a pasta machine on the largest setting 4-5 times.

8. Keep running the dough through the pasta machine, lowering the setting each time you run it through. (You want to get it as thin as you can.)

9. When you have your dough to a paper-thin thickness, place it on a flat, floured surface in front of you.

10. Roughly every two inches along the pasta sheet, place a heaping teaspoon of filling.

11. Around the perimeter of the filling, dot water to moisten the pasta.

12. Now take your second sheet of pasta and lay it over the first. Use the pads of your fingers to press down the top sheet of pasta so that it forms a seal around the mound of filling.

13. Use a heart-shaped cutter to cut into hearts, then give each ravioli a firm press around the edges to make sure that they are tightly sealed.

14. The ravioli should be cooked promptly, but if they need to sit for any amount of time, make sure they’re on a floured surface.


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Antoinnea Stubbs (left) and Meghan Schulte (right) in JWU’s Food Innovation Design Lab (FIDL)

JWU Providence student Antoinnea Stubbs assembling heart-shaped ravioli from two thin sheets of pasta.

Finished plate of heart-shaped ravioli with brown-butter sauce and a dusting of Parmesan on top.