This recipe is all about romance, and I don’t mean just the lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day romance, but the romance that can be found in enjoying the every day beauties of life. You know, “stopping to smell the roses.” Even when I was single I loved Valentine’s Day. Although I would feel twinges of loneliness, I guess it was never that sad for me because there is so much to love and be thankful for in life. Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t lead an excessively charmed life, and I’ve seen a fair amount of sadness and dysfunction. I truly feel, however, that there is beauty and romance to be found in most of life’s experiences, even the hard ones, if I take the time to look for it.
Sometimes it can be as simple as noticing something little that I take for granted: The way the cold snow sparkles as the sun is rising. The sweet hum my son makes when he’s playing. The sparkle in my friend’s eyes when she tells me she’s going to have a baby. The fact that my husband makes me coffee before work. The proud look on my son’s face as he shows me how he cleaned my bathroom with an entire bottle of hand soap. The stories and wisdom my 95 year-old patient relates in her old, tired, and grateful voice…
Aside from your relationship status, and whatever stage of life you’re in, take some time today to think about the simple snippets of beauty and romance in your life. After all, life is usually as good a we choose to perceive it!
Whether you’re making this recipe for your lover, for those you love, or for the joy of cooking and all things beets, it’s about loving the simple and somewhat necessary experience of making dinner. So, to make this romantic Beet Pasta with Pistachios and Shallot Butter properly, you will need a glass of red wine and some romantic sounding Italian music, and then be prepared to get your hands dirty, feel the pasta dough between your fingers, and be swept away by the beauty of homemade pasta.
Beet Pasta with Pistachios and Shallot Butter
- 1 C cubed red beets
- 3 C whole wheat flour
- 1 C white flour
- 4 eggs
- White flour for dusting (count on needing about 1 C)
- large pot with 12 C of water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 medium shallots, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- juice from 1 lemon
- zest from 1 lemon
- 3/4 C chopped pistachios
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 3/4 cooked red beet, cut into match sticks
1. Cube 1 C of cooked red beets and puree until smooth in a food processor. Cut 3/4 C of cooked red beets into matchsticks and set aside. You can cook your own red beets in advance using my post on How To Make Baked Beets, or you can find them precooked in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores.
2. Make a mound of your whole wheat and regular flour on a table or counter, dig a well into the center of it and add your eggs and beet puree to the middle. Learn from my mistake below, and make your well plenty big to hold everything!
3. Beat your eggs and beet puree together with a fork and then begin working the flour into the center of your well until the beet and egg mixture is combined with the flour.
4. Knead your pasta dough together for 5 minutes.
5. After kneading, wrap your pasta up with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Rushing this will result result in a bready textured pasta (yuk)!
6. Once 30 minutes have elapsed, knead your dough for another 3 minutes (you’ll notice that the texture of your dough is much smoother now), and then divide it into four pieces. Dust a large work surface, such as kitchen table or counter, with flour and then rub your rolling pin and dough balls with flour. This will prevent sticking to your rolling pin and the table.
7. Roll your dough ball out in an rectangular/oval type shape until it’s about 1 mm thick (as pictured). You will need to flip the dough a couple of times while rolling it out to dust it and the rolling pin with more flour so that it doesn’t begin to stick to everything.
8. Cut your noodles to your desired thickness using a sharp knife. Remember that once cooked, the noodle will get bigger.
9. Hang your noodles to dry for 30 minutes. If you’re like me and have a relatively low-tech kitchen, you can always make your own pasta rack. I lightly sprayed a cookie rack with olive oil and then hung the pasta over it.
10. While your pasta is drying, bring 12 cups of water, 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp salt to a boil to cook the pasta in.
11. Before adding the pasta to the water, saute your shallots in butter over medium heat until they become soft (about 5 minutes). Add your garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan and saute an additional minute. Finally, add the juice of one lemon and then remove from heat.
12. Next add your pasta to the pot of boiling water. Depending on the thickness of your pasta, boil for 1-3 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it begins to float towards the top.
13. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan of sautéed shallots, being sure to reserve the pasta water. Place the pan on medium-low heat, coat the pasta in the shallot butter, and cook with 1/4 C of reserved pasta water until heated through. If the pasta seems dry, just add additional pasta water. Take note: reserving your pasta water and adding it to your pasta dishes is one of the secrets to amazing pasta.
14. Once your dish is heated through, sprinkle it with chopped pistachios, julienned cooked beets, fresh lemon zest, and creamy goat cheese. Bon appétit!