Roasted Beet Pasta With Pistachio Pesto

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I seem to be on a beet roll lately, as I can’t seem to get enough of them. I have prepared beets in some manner or other at least once every other week over the past two months. Luckily my husband is fond of beets as well, although perhaps not quite as much as I do. This particular recipe incorporates roasted beets into a sauce for pasta that is unique, as it turns the pasta a deep wine color and has a pronounced beet flavor. If you are not a fan of beets, then this recipe will probably not be for you as it does have a rich, earthy beet flavor. If you love beets like I do, you will enjoy this recipe. I’ve made this recipe twice so far over the past month. The first time I made it I served the pasta coated with the beet sauce and topped with chunks of creamy, soft goat cheese. When tossed into the hot pasta, the goat cheese melts and adds a tangy flavor that complements the richness of the beets nicely.

This time I decided to try something different, and I served my beet pasta with a small scoop of pistachio pesto, and some chopped toasted pistachios. I thoroughly enjoyed the texture the pistachios added, and enjoyed this version of the pasta as much as I did the one with the goat cheese. I leave it up to you to decide if you’d prefer the goat cheese, or this one that uses pistachio pesto. I combined fresh basil and mint in my pesto, but you could use basil, mint, parsley, or a combination depending on your taste. You will have some leftover pesto, simply cover and refrigerate and use to toss with roasted vegetables later in the week. I do not think that this pasta dish needs extra grated cheese when served, although I do realize that some folks enjoy cheese on almost any pasta, but that is a personal choice that I’ll leave up to you. I used an artisanal bucatini pasta, but any long pasta such as spaghetti or linguine will work fine in this dish.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Roasted Beet Pasta With Pistachio Pesto

Ingredients:

Pistachio Pesto:

  • 1 Peeled Garlic Cloves
  • 1/3 Cup Shelled Pistachios
  • 1/2 Cup Loosely Packed Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Loosely Packed Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Beet Sauce:

  • 1 Pound Beets, Ends Trimmed & Washed
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Red Pepper Flakes

To Serve:

  • 1 Pound Pasta Of Choice (See Notes Above)
  • 1/3 Cup Lightly Toasted Pistachios, Coarsely Chopped
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Grated Cheese of Choice (Optional – See Notes Above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the beets in a foil lined casserole dish, and bake until fork tender, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. While the beets are roasting make the pistachio pesto by first placing the garlic in a food processor and pulsing until chopped.
  4. Add the pistachios, basil, mint, lemon juice and salt, and pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped.
  5. Add olive oil gradually through food chute and process until combined, but leaving the sauce slightly chunky.
  6. Stir in the cheese, and set aside until needed.
  7. Set the beets out to cool to room temperature.
  8. Once cooled, peel the beets and coarsely chop.
  9. Place the beets in a food processor and pulse until you’ve created a rough puree.
  10. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the garlic clove just until it begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Remove the garlic and discard, add the water, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and beet puree to the pot.
  12. Stir, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  13. Taste and adjust seasonings, and keep warm.
  14. Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until it is “al dente”.
  15. Drain reserving a small cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot.
  16. Add the beet sauce to the pot and place it on a burner over high heat.
  17. Cook the pasta, stirring continually until it is completely coated with the sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.
  18. Serve the pasta in individual bowls, with a rounded tablespoon of the pesto on top.
  19. Sprinkle each pasta dish with the chopped pistachios and some cracked black pepper and serve immediately.