Tuesday, October 18, 2005


this week's winner is the aforementioned pasta with beets.

i had roasted some beets the night before but not eaten them, and wasn't feeling too psyched about just eating sliced roasted beets. i considered going out to get some goat cheese to slather them with, but this was day 4 of last week's monsoon season, and i pretty quickly decided it wasn't worth it. then i remembered that alice waters had a recipe for pasta with beets in chez panisse vegetables...which turned out to be a recipe for pasta with beet greens, which sounded good despite the golden currants (gick!), but didn't solve my problem of what to do with the beets themselves. and i knew that somewhere, somewhere, i really had read a recipe for pasta with beets....

finally i remembered where: in more home cooking, sequel to home cooking, by laurie colwin. of course. i should know by now that those two books are where i should always look first when i'm in the throes of culinary indecision/uninspiration. laurie colwin was a novelist (who sadly died about ten years ago at age 42) who also loved to cook and eat and wrote for gourmet fairly regularly, and hc and mhc are collections of those essays and transcripts of talks she gave (the recipes are worked in to the essays). she's funny, quirky, unpretentious, and the recipes are simple and unfailingly successful.

so what i ended up making was a combination of laurie's recipe (she uses angel hair pasta, which i find annoying, and chicken broth, which i didn't have in the house) and alice's recipe (yes to the greens, which i had in the fridge; no to the nasty currants):

chop up as much garlic as you like (i used two big honking cloves), saute with about 1/4 cup olive oil. dice your roasted beets and throw them in for a minute (you can also start with diced raw beets, just saute them for longer). wash and chop the greens and throw them in with some salt and pepper, rosemary, and a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes. saute quickly until greens just wilt, then throw on a splash of vinegar (red wine, balsamic, whatever). mix with pasta (i used spaghetti), adding more olive oil and/or a spalsh of pasta water to coat if you need to.

and look how pretty!

4 great iPhotos

that was actually batch two, made a day later without greens (i used them all up in the first batch).

wile recommends it be eaten with your hands. beet chunks may be grasped between thumb and forefinger and inserted into the mouth, or taken from mama's hand with the mouth. for the pasta, grasp strands at each end firmly in your fists, pull taut, and bite from the middle.

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