Normally when I have a fridge drawer full of beets, I end up roasting them and making a salad or tossed with some couscous/quinoa. I have never made borscht (I need to soon) and I’ve never had beets with pasta (except the occasional time you see beet ravioli). The Vegetarian found a recipe on Pinterest from Bev Cooks, a blog I had never been to before, for penne pasta in a roasted beet sauce. I’ve renamed it to a ragu, though it’s really the same thing.
I wish that I had seen the note at the end of the recipe, saying that you should roast the garlic with the beets. That would have toned down the ‘kick’ of the sauce and given it even more sweetness. I also didn’t have any chicken stock, so I opted to use some red wine instead. The dish is super tasty, and if you use barilla plus pasta, you have lots of protein. I didn’t have poppy seeds, called for in the recipe, which would have been a nice addition.
Serves 2 (seems to be easily doubled)
Recipe based on Bev Cooks
3 medium-sized beets, cleaned and cut into a small dice
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoon vermouth
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup cream or milk
1 teaspoon sugar
6 ounces penne pasta
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced beets and garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon oil, thyme sprigs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes.
Transfer beets to a food processor. Add balsamic vinegar, vermouth, half of the cheese and the 2 remaining tablespoons oil. Pulse until it’s as smooth.
Transfer beet mixture to a saucepan large enough to hold pasta. Add the wine and cream/milk and bring to a light simmer. Add the sugar, remaining cheese and another pinch of salt. Simmer on medium-low.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water to loosen sauce. Drain pasta and add to the beet ragu. Cook over low heat and mix well. Add reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce.
Serve with more cheese. Enjoy!!