This week, Men's Fitness is teaming up with the NBA to celebrate NBA FIT Live Healthy Week. While all-star athletes will be promoting fitness and healthy living in communities around the nation, we're camping out in the kitchen. Each day, we'll deliver a series of low-calorie, muscle-building, athlete-caliber recipes designed by world-class chefs, like Mario Batali, Candice Kumai, Marc Forgione, Bill Telepan, Ali Maffucci, and Roble Ali. 

Red Beet Ravioli, Goat Cheese, Walnuts, and Watercress

For the Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Walnut Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Watercress and Endive Salad:

  • 3 cups watercress tops (preferably wild) with 2-inches of the stem left
  • 12 red endive leaves

For the Beet Ravioli Sheets:

  • 1 extra large beet (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

For the Goat Cheese Filling:

  • 1 pound fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble the Dish:

  • 1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
  • Walnut oil
  • 4 ounce wheel of your favorite aged, firm goat cheese (we use Midnight Moon)

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Make the Candied Walnuts:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; position the rack in the middle. Spread walnuts out on a baking sheet (13x18 inches) and toast 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Set the walnuts aside while you make the sugar glaze.

2. In a medium pot set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar with 1/2 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Add the cinnamon, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 4 minutes until you smell the cinnamon and sugar caramelizing. Fold in the walnuts and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer the coated nuts to a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet (13x18 inches). Allow the nuts to cool to room temperature; then using your hands or a mallet, crush the nuts.

Make the Walnut Vinaigrette:

3. Using a fork, blend the olive oil, sherry vinegar, and walnut oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The vinaigrette will look “broken” not uniform. 

4. In a large bowl toss the watercress and endive together. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the dish.

Make the Beet Ravioli Sheets:

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; position the rack in the middle. Using an adjustable mandoline, slice the beets into 1/16-inch slices. You will need 24 slices. Using a ring cutter, cut each slice into 2 half-inch circles. Lay the cut circles onto Silpat-lined half sheet baking trays. Brush the beet circles with a little olive oil. Bake the beet circles for 10 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Goat Cheese Filling:

6. Place the goat cheese, chives, parsley, shallot, salt, and pepper in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix at low speed until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag. Line a large cutting board or a counter with parchment paper. Lay 12 of the beet circles on top of the paper. Pipe enough filling to leave a half-inch unfilled diameter around. Repeat until all 12 circles are filled. Place the remaining beet circles on top of the filled beet circles, and using the back of a half-inch ring cutter, gently mold the ravioli into shape and press the edges of the beet circles together. Using a 2-inch ring cutter, cut the ravioli into shape.

Assemble the Dish:

7. Divide the ravioli among 4 chilled plates–you should have 3 ravioli per plate. Place the Watercress and Endive Salad on top of the ravioli and around each plate, and drizzle the dressing over. Add a couple of curls of the hard goat cheese and sprinkle some Candied Walnuts on top and around. Drizzle some walnut oil on top before serving.