{recipe} Pasta with Beets & Poppy Seeds

October 11, 2011

Pasta with Beets

I love beet pasta. There’s something irresistible about the sweet flavor that the ruby-colored root lends homemade pasta. And the brown butter sauce that often coats beet pasta does’t hurt either! But, as much as I love it, making beet pasta isn’t in the cards during the week. Instead, I make this quick riff on beet pasta in poppy seed and brown butter sauce.

Roast your beets ahead of time and this easy, healthful week-night dinner—penne tossed with butter, oil, shallots, roasted beets, wilted greens, poppy seeds and Parmesan—comes together in 20 minutes. Pre-cook your pasta, too (my new favorite trick ever!), and dinner’s on in even fewer minutes.

Pasta with beets ingredients

When I have a choice, I prefer using candy-striped beets for this recipe, if for no other reason than they are easier to clean up. Red beets work, too, and will give the whole dish a rich hue (that the kids will love!). You should also use the beet greens. They are equally—some say more—nutritious than the root and will give your dish a health boost with no extra cooking time. And for best flavor, roast your beets (you can do this up to 3 days ahead of time). It will give them that irresistible sweet taste that I mentioned earlier.

Pasta with Beets close up

Totally simple. Totally delicious.

Pasta with Beets & Poppy Seeds
serves 4-6
(can be adapted for kids 6+ mos)*

1 pound of penne or another cut pasta
1 tablespoon of salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 1/2 heaping cups chopped beet greens
1 1/2 cups julienned roasted beets
1/2 cup cooking water
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Black pepper

1. Bring one gallon of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add pasta, stir, then begin measuring cooking time; cook pasta 2-3 minutes fewer than indicated on the package. Drain pasta saving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Do not rinse the pasta; set aside.

2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute shallots until soft and translucent. Add beet greens and continue sauteing until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add julienned roasted beets, toss to coat well with butter.

3. Add water and broth to the skillet. Swirl to combine and heat the liquid through. Add cooked pasta. Toss well and cook for 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens and coats pasta well. Remove skillet from heat and stir in Parmesan, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve!

*Note: Pulse finished pasta in a food processor to make an age-appropriate puree or consistency. If your child is safely managing soft finger foods, you can chop the pasta and veggies instead.

5 Responses

  1. dee says:

    How do you roast beets? Aren’t they too soft?

  2. Roasting beets is my favorite—so easy! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the greens and stem and, if you want, give the beets a rinse. Pat dry and wrap each individually with foil. Place on a sheet pan, put in the oven and cook until they are *just* fork tender (that’s how you keep them from being too soft). It’s hard to give an exact cooking time since beets vary greatly in size, but use 45-60 minutes as a benchmark.

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