Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pink Pasta

Dear Blog Readers,

The other night I made a very counterintuitive pasta dish--pasta with beets! Not only was the whole thing fantastically rose-tinged, it was also delicious. It was sweet and savoury and crunchy and cheesy--what more could you need? I would seriously recommend that all of you make this as soon as possible.

Pink Pasta with Beets and Beet Greens

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced into thin crescents (about 4 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches beets with fresh healthy greens, greens cut into 1-inch-wide-strips
12 ounces farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Begin by putting the beets into the oven to roast. Depending on their size this will take between 3o and 60 minutes, so get started early! When they are finished, peel and cut the beets into crescents.

Next, get to work caramelizing those nice crescent onions. Put a large frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions, and saute until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute until tender and browned, about thirty minutes longer. (FOR A GREAT PRIMER ON CARAMELIZING ONIONS, go here). Once you are satisfied with the caramelization of the onions, add garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions and garlic, drizzle on a little more olive oil if needed; cover, and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente--tender, but still firm to bite. Reserve a cup of the pasta boiling water, then drain, and return pasta to pot.

Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten, if needed. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Stir in Parmesan cheese, and pinenuts.


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