Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese Sauce, Beets, and Beet Greens

As published on The Daily Meal

This is one of my new favorite go-to meals. Beets are readily available at your local farmers market year round, as the root vegetables can over-winter. I like to buy red and golden beets with fresh-looking greens, as I like to use the whole vegetable. Just this past Friday, I purchased some beets and immediately cooked up the roots for a salad (pop them in water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, cooking until tender, about 45 minutes, depending on their size. When a knife inserts them easily, they're done). Today, I chopped up the washed stems and sauteed them in a big of Argan oil. Then, I added the clean leaves, cut into a chiffonade, and a pinch of salt. A healthy winter green alternative to chard or kale!

This dish can be made using pantry staples. It's an easy and relatively healthy alternative to heavy cream sauces like Carbonara. Pairs well with whole-wheat pasta, too.

6 red beets, greens removed and set aside
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 package of pasta, cooked according to package instructions

Wash the beets and greens. Place the beets in a 6-quart saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. 
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently cook until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the cooking liquid and let cool.

Meanwhile, cut the beet greens and the top 1/3 of the beet stalk into thin strips. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the beet greens, a pinch of salt and sauté until just wilted.
Then add the cream and goat cheese to the beet greens and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to bubble and the goat cheese begins to form a sauce with the cream. Add the pasta and continue to cook for about 3 minutes longer.

While the pasta warms, remove the skin of the beets and chop into 3/4-inch chunks.
Serve the warm pasta on plates and garnish with the beets.

Serves 4

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