As we run up to the Easter Holidays, I realize that for many people of varying religious affiliations, this time of year is one of abstinence. Of giving things up. Usually of the food or drink variety.
Many people give up all manner of carbohydrates. The mere thought makes my brain reel in dizziness and object to organized religion. But we are not here to talk about that. We are here to talk about PASTA.
With this recipe, you don't need to give up pasta. With this recipe, pasta becomes BOLD. It become BEAUTIFUL. It becomes PINK. Hot pink, in fact.
And delicious. Yes, I am following up my beet pizza recipe with a beet pasta. Carb-lovers, unite! But seriously, folks. It's not like I'm putting pasta on my pizza. Yet.
This makes use of both the beautiful purple-pink color of beets and their sweet earthy flavor for a fresh and healthy sauce. And you don't even have to roast the beets—BONUS!
I pair the beets with some silky-smooth ricotta cheese and cranky pistachio nuts (love the green, purple color palette, too!)
Check out the ingredients...
FOR THE BEET SAUCE:
3 large purple beets, tops trimmed off and skins peeled
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp seat salt
dash of nutmeg
juice from ½ lemon
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
FOR THE PARSLEY PESTO:
1/2 cup shelled roasted and lightly salted pistachios
1 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup Colavita Olive Oil, plus more if needed
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 lb Bucatini or Spaghetti
pistachios, coarsely chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
FIRST, PREPARE THE PESTO:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil and sea salt and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add in the ½ cup of pistachios and pulse until well combined. If the mixture seems dry, add more olive oil.
Store the pesto in the fridge (drizzle a little olive oil on top) in a sealed container for a week.
When you are ready to use it in this dish, combine 4 tablespoons of the pesto with the ricotta cheese and mix well. Drizzle with olive oil if it seems dry. Store this in the refrigerator until you are ready to garnish the pasta with it.
Slice the peeled beets into very thin strips. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beet strips to the olive oil with the ¼ teaspoon salt, paprika, nutmeg and lemon juice. Allow the beets to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling, salt it with about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Add the pasta to the salted, boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.
Drain the cooked pasta in a colander (don’t rinse it!). Add the drained and cooked pasta to the pot with the cooked beets. Mix the pasta well with the beet mixture – it will start to turn a bright pink color. Once the beets and pasta are well incorporated, spoon some into a dish.
Add a few dollops of the parsley pesto combined with the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the dish with more fresh parsley, some chopped pistachios and lemon zest. Serve immediately.