Pasta with Beets and Walnuts

July 27, 2008

Pasta with Beets and Walnuts

Paula Redinger, Tucson CSA

If you’ve already roasted your beets, this recipe takes no longer than it does to cook the pasta. To roast beets, wrap them in foil and place in a 450 degree oven. Cook until tender – large beets may take two hours. Wait until cool enough to handle. Trim beets, and slip off their skins. Refrigerate until needed. I usually roast beets well in advance, along with any other vegetables I want to roast that week, or if I have a loaf of bread to bake. (I figure I might as well fill up the oven if it’s going to be on.) I choose a time when I know I’ll be home for a few hours, working at home, or whatever, since they take a long time, but need little attention once they are in the oven. I’m sure they could be done on the grill as well, over low coals.

Pasta “shape” of your choice (I like “shapes” rather than “strands” for this recipe.)
Roasted beets, ½ inch dice, about 1 cup per serving
Walnuts, roughly chopped, 2-4 Tablespoon per serving
Parmesan cheese, grated, 2-4 Tablespoon per serving, plus extra for the table
Olive Oil – 2-3 teaspoon per serving
Salt and pepper

Put the pasta water on to boil. Meanwhile, trim, peel and dice beets, chop the walnuts and grate the cheese, if not done already. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant, tossing frequently – probably not more than a minute.

When the water is at a full boil, salt it generously (it should taste like seawater) and put in the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked to your taste, drain it and put it back in the still hot pan. Sprinkle in the parmesan and combine well. The parmesan will melt and make a sort of creamy sauce on the pasta. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper (I like a lot of pepper) and combine. Work quickly, so the pasta doesn’t cool before serving. Portion out the pasta into bowls (preferably warmed) and top with the walnuts and beets. Serve with additional parmesan on the side, if desired.

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