I don’t think I could live without pasta! How about you? I’m always trying to find new ways to enjoy it. So I hit my local farmers’ market and filled up my sack with all of the fresh vegetables that “called out” to me, including some amazing beets. (I seem to be on a beet kick lately!) Then straight to my kitchen I went. Actually, I take that back. Straight to my building rooftop I went where I snipped a day’s worth of fresh basil. (Yep, that’s how we do it here in Brooklyn!) Then off to my kitchen I went.
This is what I got when I married pasta with the classic tastes of a beet and goat cheese salad. It’s a family-sized pasta dish that’s stunning to look at (hello, fuchsia!) and absolutely scrumptious. It’s a colorful way to bring the family back to the table … if there’s no objection to pink food! It’s hard not to love a good bowl of pasta, after all. Though since this pasta is particularly pretty, you may find it best suited to an evening in with girlfriends. Either way, this luxurious linguine is a must try—especially when you’re able to find organic or local beets at your farmers market. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do … stained pink fingers and all!
Calories saved: 110
Why it’s better for you? It’s a celebration of whole grains and seasonal vegetables—plus it’s packed with fiber!
- 2 medium fresh organic or local beets with leaves*
- 1/4 cup unsweetened jasmine green tea (or water), hot or cold
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tablespoons juice)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 10 ounces dry whole grain linguine
- 2 ounces soft artisanal goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fresh small basil leaves
- Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350°F. Wash, dry, and remove the leaves from the beets; thinly slice the leaves and chill until ready to use. Wrap the beets in recycled aluminum foil and roast in the oven until cooked through and tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape off the beet skin using the dull side of a paring knife. Then chop the beets.
- In a blender, add the chopped beets, tea, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and salt. Blend until velvety smooth, at least 2 minutes. Set aside. (Hint: Be careful! This puree will stain anything you splatter it onto, including you!)
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add salt to the water, if desired. Add the linguine and cook according to package directions. (Alternatively, try my lid-cooking technique to save energy: After stirring the linguine into the boiling water, cover with a lid, and turn off or remove from heat. Let cook without heat per the same timing suggested on the pasta package!)
- While the pasta is cooking, pour the beet puree into a large sauté pan and bring just to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the beet greens, and cook while stirring until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the beet sauce and gently toss with tongs to combine. Add desired amount of reserved cooking liquid (if any) and gently toss to combine.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the goat cheese and basil. Sprinkle with additional lemon zest, if desired, and serve. (Hint: If you have them on hand, pan-toast some pine nuts and sprinkle them onto this pasta, too!)
Per serving: 360 calories, 9g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 60g total carbohydrate, 11g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 15g protein
*Each beet weighed 6 1/2 ounces without leaves before roasting. After roasting and peeling, the total weight of the beets was 10 3/4 ounces. The amount of sliced beet leaves I used was 2 cups packed.
The “Before” Version
Inspired by Bowtie Marinara with Goat Cheese
Per serving: 470 calories, 16g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 680mg sodium, 65g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 10g sugars, 17g protein
- Think beyond marinara; pureed roasted vegetable sauces make for intriguing pasta results
- Try marrying two favorite concepts into one—like pasta with a beet-n-goat cheese salad
- To balance and brighten flavors, do splash with an acid, like fresh lemon juice
The RecipeRedux theme this month is “Back to the Dinner Table.” Making this recipe is one way to help you get back to regular family mealtime as fall is around the corner!