I wish I could remember the inspiration for this dish. What I do remember is that Brian dreamed it up and made it for us last summer. And I have been craving it ever since.
So, last week I sent Bob to the farmer’s market for beets and to Uncle G’s for their fabulous creamy-dreamy ricotta, and whipped up a batch under my son’s expertly watchful eye (he is recovering from surgery for a badly broken arm, so kitchen duty is limited for him atm).
I just know you will love this unusual, comforting, and visually stunning bowl of deliciousness. Feel free to try it with different colors of beets, but none are as striking as classic red.
Roasted Beet Pesto
This recipe makes enough to dress a pound of pasta with a cup or so left over to play with the next day.
5 medium beets, washed and trimmed
2 cups whole milk ricotta (homemade is wonderful, just sayin’)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 cup grated parm
1/2 cup good olive oil
handful of basil (optional)
extra parm for serving
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400.
Place the beets on a large square of foil and drizzle them with a tbs. of the oil, salt and pepper. Wrap them tightly. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they are tender when you squeeze them through the foil. Alternatively, you may grill-roast them.
Open the foil and let them cool until you can handle, then rub off the skins with a paper towel and quarter them.
Microwave the garlic for 20 seconds, and peel.
Place the beets, garlic, ricotta, and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add lemon juice and parm, and mix briefly. With the machine running, add the remaining oil. Add basil, if using.
To dress pasta, make sure you reserve a cup of cooking water and drain the noodles when they are just shy of al dente. Reserve a cup of pesto for later. Place the pasta, half cup of cooking water, and pesto in the empty pasta pot and stir to coat and heat, adding more water as needed for a luxurious sauce. Plate and serve with extra parm and basil.
Ideas for the leftover pesto:
Smear on toasted baguette (or homemade sourdough) for an easy lunch or appetizer.
Top a salad with a big dollop.
Layer in a roasted veggie sandwich.
Make a wrap with arugula, pesto, and cheese (swiss, brie, or cheddar).
Toss with a simple steamed vegetable, like broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower.
Mix with some chicken stock for a lovely creamy hot or cold soup.
Use as a sauce for grilled meat or fish.
Stir into risotto.
Have fun!!! If you come up with any new ideas, make sure to tell me about it in Comments!