By Nancy Olah
I love beets – always have, always will.
Unfortunately, my family doesn’t share my infatuation with beets.
I have tried, with moderate success, to get them to tolerate beets.
Which is why it is sometimes nice to be a Boy Scout widow.
I know that there are worse things in this world to which my loving husband Bill could devote his time.
I know that I could be a golf widow or a fantasy football widow . . . instead I’m a Boy Scout widow.
With Bill being absent tonight because of a camping trip, I took two baked beets that were left over from the baked beets I made earlier this week, and created a new version of “Shocking Pasta”, a great recipe that Crescent Dragonwagon published in her seminal cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian.
With all due respect to one of my culinary heroes, I think that the changes I made tonight really improved Crescent’s unique recipe (which she said was adapted from a dish she had at I Matti in DC back in 1993.)
Which just goes to show you . . . there is nothing that is completely new – just different ways of playing off inspired ideas.
I had made Crescent’s Shocking Pasta several times in the past – but always to lukewarm reviews from my two carnivores.
Since I was a Boy Scout widow tonight with two beets in my fridge, I decided it was time to re-invent this dish and make it may own.
The thing I always thought was missing was more of a creamy quality, along with a bit of crunch and texture – and way more pasta than Crescent’s suggestion of 8 oz. of bow-tie pasta.
I was seriously pleased with my efforts tonight – which is why I’m motivated to share them with you rather than clean up the kitchen and watch a good movie from Netflix.
I know that this isn’t a true “Fool a Carnivore” recipe – because what carnivore would ever be fooled by a plate of purple pasta?
However, with the Barilla Plus pasta, this is actually is a high protein dish – which is what most carnivores are concerned about when you dare to suggest meatless alternatives.
One serving of Barilla Plus pasta has 17 grams of protein – the equivalent of about 3 hard boiled eggs or 3 ounces of shrimp.
So, here’s my Amazing Beet Pasta recipe. But before you laugh or dismiss it as utterly crazy . . . ask yourself if you are ever constipated. If you are – try my beet pasta – I guarantee that you won’t be!
- 14-16 ounces of farfalle (bow tie pasta) – I like Barilla Plus
- 2 large or 3 medium beets, baked (skins removed and quartered)
- 1 tablespoons garlic oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces mascarpone (or 4 ounces cream cheese)
- ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted or raw (your choice)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt when it is at a rolling boil. Cook the farfalle while you are preparing the sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking, put the beets, garlic oil, olive oil, and mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor. Taste and season with pepper and salt. Scrape it down and buzz it again until it is very smooth.
- When the pasta is al dente (about 10-11 minutes if you are using the Barilla Plus pasta I suggest), reserve a cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta in a colander.
- Put the drained pasta back in the warm pasta pot and add the mixture from the food processor, along with some pasta water to thin the sauce. Stir in about a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and then sprinkle in your raw or toasted pine nuts.
- Toss again and top with more cheese and pine nuts.