I didn’t always like beets. I can remember being 10 years old or so and missing out on an after dinner movie because I wouldn’t finish my beets. The rest of the family got to go into the living room and watch the movie. I can’t recall the title, but I think it had something to do with cycling. I sat alone at the kitchen table with my cold, canned beets.
When I was in my 20’s living on my own and cooking for myself, I still didn’t think I liked beets. And really, I don’t think it’s fair to compare those store-bought, canned beets to home-grown or Farmers’ Market beets. Back in the 80’s I don’t think fresh beets were even available for sale in the grocery store.
I like beets now. A lot. You might say I’m a beet advocate. I make beet hummus, a recipe I got from Not Without Salt, and bring it to parties to watch so-called “beet haters” come around. It’s worked on almost every finicky beet eater I know (except for Peter. hi Peter!). I’m still working on him 🙂
My favorite type to grow is Bull’s blood beets. They are an heirloom variety grown specifically for their deep, red leaves. They look beautiful planted with chartreuse colored lettuce, you can use the leaves in salads when you thin your beets, and the beets stay sweet even when they get as big as a baseball. I find them to be an all-around great variety.
Fresh beets are completely different from those canned beets from my childhood. I think roasted beets are best. It brings out their sweetness and how can you not love their color? It’s amazing! The wine colored vegetable has a special place in my heart.
That’s why I liked this pasta. The first time I saw it my jaw dropped and I thought, “I’ve got to make that immediately!” The premise is simple. You grate about three beets and saute them in butter. Once they’ve cook down you add some pasta that is 3/4 cooked. Reserve some of the cooking water and add it to the beet/pasta mixture. The pasta will take on the beautiful fuchsia color of the beets and look stunning. Finish cooking the pasta until done, add some leeks sauteed in butter and top with crumbled goat cheese.
You’ll have a vibrant magenta, green and white dish. A striking color palette that is not only inviting, but delicious.