Friday, 7 October 2011

Pink Pasta: Creamy Beetroot Penne

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Rather than a photo of the pasta, when I slid this plate in the direction of my 3-year old, I really wanted to take a photo of her face. She stared at the plate in silence for the first five seconds and screwed up her nose. "What's this?" she asked. "Pink pasta", I replied, trying not to make a big deal out of it, and acting like it was the most normal thing in the world for Saturday night's tea.

My 8-year old stepdaughter was being more macho (she's eaten snails in France, don't you know....) as she dug in with her fork, and my 6-year old just looked up and said "oh, is it beetroot? That makes your wee pink." Kids, eh?

My husband wasn't home which meant it was a girl's night in for me and my three girls - so what better meal than girly pink beetroot pasta? And they all loved it!

This recipe is adapted from The Abel and Cole Cookbook by the organic veg-box delivery company, Abel and Cole. The book was delivered with one of my vegetable boxes about a year ago. Their recipe uses raw beetroot, which is roasted and then peeled and cooked in the recipe below. I've adapted it a little to make allowances for the ready-cooked beetroot that I used and jiggled about with some of the measurements, but you'll find the original recipe on page 188 of the book.





Because I had used ready-cooked beetroot (not the one in vinegar, just plain) the beetroot sauce was literally the work of two or three minutes. Most of the time I stood waiting for the pasta to cook, so it was really quick. The end result tastes creamy and sweet and of course the colour is a bit of a surprise too. If you can get hold of the SweetFire beetroot, which is marinaded in a chilli dressing I reckon this would work really well here too.



Pink Pasta - Creamy Beetroot Penne
Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 350-400g penne pasta
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 250g pack vacuum-packed cooked beetroot (plain, not the type in vinegar)
  • 2-3 chunky garlic cloves, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 125ml single cream
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve
Method
  1. Tip the pasta into boiling, salted water and leave to cook.
  2. Chop the beetroot (save the juice in the packet for later!) into bite-sized pieces and finely chop the garlic.
  3. Trickle about 2 tablespoons olive oil into a pan and gently fry the garlic cloves until soft. Tip in the beetroot pieces and leave to cook gently and heat through, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the pasta is almost cooked, squeeze in the lemon juice and then pour in the cream. Tip the reserved beetroot juice into the mixture and stir well. The juice will add a surprising amount of colour to the dish.
  5. Drain the now-cooked pasta and tip into the pan with the pink beetroot sauce and toss together to mix until the pasta is coated. Slosh in about half a mug of the pasta's cooking water to help thin the sauce. Taste, and add salt if you think it needs it.
  6. Serve in bowls with lots of Parmesan to grate over the top.

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