Do not adjust your monitor — this pasta really is a wild shade of magenta. This is a quick, easy, and unusual way to make the best of what’s left in your larder at the bare and cruel beginning of spring in New England. (Is it just me with two sad beets rolling around the bin the fridge?) A quick Google search turned up this recipe from New York Magazine, and I made it work with what I had on hand.
When I get a bunch of beets, I tend to roast them all at once, then keep them in the fridge, ready to be used at a moment’s notice. This is super-useful for weeknight dinners, when roasting the beets would set you back an hour or so. Roast ‘em while you’re doing something else in the oven, like preheating for a loaf or bread or a pizza — I wrap mine in foil and set them in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees, though the time and temperature can vary depending on what else is going on.
This recipe works with spaghetti or just about any other pasta — campanelle or orecchiette is nice, too. I’ve also made it with sunflower seeds in place of the poppies, and it was strange, but good. Either way, it’s fun to eat hot pink pasta, no?
Beet and Poppy Seed Pasta
Adapted from New York Magazine
- 1 or 2 small roasted red beets
- 1/2 pound spaghetti or any other pasta you like
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 heaping tbs poppy seeds
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. pasta cooking water
- salt and pepper
- a few roughly torn chunks or shavings of your favorite cheese — pecorino, mozzarella, chÃ¨vre
- Get a large pot of salted water over high heat, for the pasta.
- Peel the beets, chop roughly, and toss them into a food processor, pulsing until you have a fine mince. (You could also mince by hand, but that’s no fun.) Set aside.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- In a medium saute pan over medium heat, brown the butter. Reduce the heat slightly, add the olive oil, and swirl to combine. Add the minced shallots, and cook for a few minutes, until soft, then add the poppy seeds. Toast the seeds in the butter-shallot mixture for another few minutes. To the shallots and poppy seeds, add the minced beets and thyme, stirring to mix.
- Dip a small ladle in the pasta water and transfer about 1/4 to 1/2 c. pasta cooking water to the beet pan. This helps create a deeper flavor in the sauce. Simmer over medium heat. When the pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer it directly to the beet pan, tossing and scooping to evenly coat. Add salt and pepper to taste (this’ll vary depending on how salty you make your pasta water — you may not need much salt at all).
- Remove thyme sprigs before serving in warm bowls. Top with cheese.