My garden is busting with beets. I will admit, I went a bit overboard this year. I grew Golden, Cylindra, Bulls Blood and Detroit Red beets. Not just 1 or 2 of each, but a whole packet of each. 50+ of each kind. After thinning, there aren’t that many, but still a lot. Finding ways to use the bounty is always fun. So far I’ve dried a bunch to make beet powder (more on that at another time), I’ve grilled them with potatoes & carrots on the barbecue and now this. Pasta. Glorious pasta.
Next up is Bull’s Blood. Sounds kind of….yucky, but they are a deep rich red color and a great grower! I have grown this variety every year for the past 6 years.
Oh Cylindra – how do I love thee…let me count the ways. This beet is the canners best friend. If you like your canned beets in nice circles, this is your beet. They grow long and slender like a carrot.
And last, but never least, is Detroit Red. I love this beet. It’s a great grower. Delicious. Sweet. Ok, I just love beets. If you decide to grow your own, I would definitely give this one and the Burpee’s Golden a shot. They are a great combo and look amazing together in a salad.
Now that I have you all up on your beet varieties, how about we do something delicious with them?
Yesterday I headed to the garden and pulled 6 small/medium beets, gave them a good scrub and tossed them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 F. Next was the decision of what to do with them. A few weeks back Linda of SaltySeattle.com was Instagramming about making Beet Bucatini. My eyeballs were feasting on the gorgeous purple hue of the pasta and my mind was swirling with ideas. I needed to do this… after all I have the pasta attachments for my KitchenAid mixer somewhere. So I did some web searching and found a recipe for the pasta on none other than Martha’s website. It was super easy, although time consuming, to make and the pasta was delish!
Let’s get started.
To the processor add the roasted, peeled beets and whiz them good to make 1/2 cup of puree. Add 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and process until smooth. (tough so far, right?)
Add in some flour and salt and pulse until it is just combined, but still a little crumbly. Turn out onto a very well floured board and knead. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is supple and elastic. You should be able to see it bounce back when you push on it. Cover it with a bowl and leave it to rest for 1 or 2 hours. I let mine go for 2 hours. Resting is good, especially if you’re pasta dough.
See how gorgeous after a 2 hour siesta?
I want a wardrobe of only this color.
Cut the dough into 8 equal wedges and cover with the bowl so they don’t dry out. I know this is only 4, so imagine they are halved again. Get out the trusty pasta making machine (or attachments for the trusty KitchenAid workhorse) and a couple of large rimmed baking sheets that have been dusted with plenty of flour (this is where the finished pasta will rest while you continue to make more and more and more). Follow the manufacturers directions on how to use your pasta machine and make fettuccine noodles.
The whole process can take some time, it took me about 4 hours from start (roasting beets) to finish (these piles of pasta). That doesn’t count the time it will take to make the carbonara which isn’t terribly long, but this is definitely not a weeknight meal, so plan accordingly.
Beet Pasta Carbonara with Peas & Bacon
Use your bounty of beets by making a pasta dough. Drying the pasta on a pasta drying rack will make it keep longer and turn a 4+ hour labor of love into a quick weeknight meal. Pasta recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com.
1/2 cup beet puree (from 2 medium roasted beets)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 lb bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
4 garlic cloves
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not canned), plus more for serving
1/2 recipe of Beet Pasta
1 cup pasta cooking liquid
- Add the roasted beets to the food processor and puree. There should be 1/2 cup of puree. Add the 2 eggs plus the egg yolk and process until smooth. Add the salt and 2 cups of flour and process just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a very floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a bowl and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours.
- Cut the dough into 8 pieces and knead in a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky. Follow your pasta machine manufacturers directions and make sheets of pasta. Make pasta using the fettuccine attachment and make small piles on a floured rimmed baking sheet or use a pasta drying rack. Repeat with all remaining dough.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet (big enough to hold the cooked pasta) over high heat and add the bacon, fry until crisp and browned, drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium.
- In a medium bowl add the eggs and Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir once. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and peas to the skillet and heat through. When the pasta is cooked, transfer from the water to the skillet using tongs or a spider strainer, do not drain in a colander. Toss the pasta in the bacon fat, peas and garlic. Slowly whisk 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the egg and Parmesan mixture and add to the pasta and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the egg and make a creamy sauce. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.