Beets are a wonder food, they are not only good for you but their striking color adds aesthetic value to anything and everything it touches! When food is pretty, it makes you wanna eat it!
One of my favorite things to do with beets is to add their ever-so-purple juice to a basic pasta dough. It turns the pasta pink and transforms an already very special homemade pasta into something extraordinary!
I love the flavors of pesto with beets, sweet verdant basil, spicy garlic, fatty pine nuts help to balance their earthiness. Here I thought I might add sweet zucchini to the traditional lineup of flavors in a pesto to give it a little more depth as well as some juiciness and swap the traditional pine nuts for walnuts which happen to taste great alongside squash of any kind. The result was ethereal. The texture of the pesto was reminiscent of fresh ricotta cheese, smooth and creamy and coated the tongue beautifully. It made the perfect sauce for the beet pasta.
Last night was the only night all week that I had to cook so I kinda went all out, especially since I was cooking dinner for my sweety. The pesto can definitely be made in advance and it might even taste a little better the next day. The pasta dough can also be made up to a day in advance, giving you less that you need to execute in the moment. I hope you give this one a try, this dish is a winner!
Beet Fettucine with Sauteed Summer Vegetables in Zucchini Walnut Pesto
- Beet Pasta Dough
- 1 Plowbreak Farm yellow squash, halved and sliced into half moons
- 2 Plowbreak Farm spring onions, thinly sliced, tops reserved and thinly sliced on a bias for garnish
- 4 leaves Plowbreak Farm dinosaur kale, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Plowbreak Farm broccoli florets, chopped
- 1/2 cup Zucchini Walnut Pesto
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Lively Run Dairy Lemon Thyme Chevre, for garnish
- 5-6 small beet greens, for garnish
- salt, pepper, olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the yellow squash to the pan and try as best you can to get them to sit in the pan in an even layer. When starting to brown on the bottoms, add the spring onions, broccoli and kale to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and the onions are softened and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of the zucchini walnut pesto to the pan and stir in. Season with salt if neccessary.
Add all of your beet fettucine to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, until al dente. Transfer with tongs straight from the pot to the saute pan with the vegetables and toss to coat.
Pile the pasta and vegetables in a nice tangle into a bowl and crumble over some of the Lemon Thyme chevre. Lay on a few of the prettiest, smallest beet greens and finish it off with some sliced spring onion tops. Give the whole bowl a good drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!
For the Beet Fettucine:
- 9 ounces all purpose flour
- 6 ounces egg (3 large eggs)
- 1-2 ounces beet juice (juice from one medium sized beet)
- pinch salt
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and push it up along the sides of the bowl to make a well in it’s center. Crack the eggs into the well. Pour the beet juice into the eggs and season with a pinch of salt.
Using a fork, start to beat the eggs in the center, incorporating flour from the sides of the bowl little by little until the dough just comes together. If it seems wet or overly tacky, you can sprinkle in just a bit more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 or so minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
To roll the pasta, cut the batch of dough in half and roll out one half using a KitchenAid stand mixer pasta roller attachment, starting on the “1” setting and going all the way through to “4”, putting the sheet of pasta through three times on each setting. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
To cut the noodles, make sure the dough is well floured and cut your pasta sheets into 8-10 inch long sections. Roll each section up lengthwise and cut into 1 inch sized pieces. Unroll each of those pieces to find a beautiful piece of beet fettucine. Flour the noodles again to keep them from sticking and transfer to a plate until cooking time.
For the Zucchini Walnut Pesto:
- 1 large green zucchini, diced into 1/2 pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- juice of a lemon
- 3/4 freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 – 1 cup good olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine the zucchini, walnuts, basil, lemon, garlic and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you a have a thick and smooth puree. Add the parmesan and pulse to combine. Season to taste.