While scrolling through all the food porn on Pinterest in search of interesting recipes, I came across this gorgeous-looking dish on Eat, Live, Run: Beet Pesto Pasta. (The blogger got the recipe from Heather Christo‘s cookbook Generous Table.) I immediately pinned it and kept coming back to the link, drooling at that luscious pink spaghetti. I decided to make it for dinner last night, with some of my own additions, and it did not disappoint!
Beets used to be intimidating to me, because you typically have to roast or boil and then peel them before you can actually start cooking with them. I’ve gotten over it, though, and they’re worth the extra effort!* I made the beet pesto ahead of time, figuring that it would only taste better if I allowed the flavors time to come together.
This recipe was super easy to make: all you have to do is boil the beets until they’re fork tender, then throw the ingredients into your food processor or blender and pulse until you have a pretty pink PESTO!
I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe: it called for three cloves of garlic but I only used one and a half. My husband and I have both found that if we use the amount of garlic called for in a recipe, the dish usually ends up being too garlicky for us. I added an extra glug of olive oil while pulsing the ingredients in the blender, because the 1/4 cup the recipe listed didn’t feel like quite enough. I didn’t use “finely grated Parmesan cheese”—I used some of that pre-grated stuff in a plastic container. And I cracked some black pepper into the pesto, even though the recipe didn’t call for it.
We ended up with a solid amount of this beautiful beet pesto—I didn’t measure the finished product, but it probably came out to about two or two and a half cups’ worth. Enough to dress a whole box of spaghetti and then some!
I knew that I wanted to add some ingredients to the dish to make it even more special, so while the whole wheat spaghetti was cooking, I wilted some arugula in olive oil over medium heat and toasted the extra shelled pistachios in a dry pan, also over medium heat. When the pasta was ready I drained it, returned it to the pot, stirred in the beet pesto, and spooned a portion into a bowl over the goat cheese, pistachios, and arugula, then mixed it all up. The resulting dish was pretty messy (I was too excited to eat this to worry about plating it nicely for a photo), but gorgeous all the same.
More importantly, it was seriously delicious! The peppery bite of the arugula gave a nice contrast to the naturally sweet, earthy beets, and the goat cheese and pistachios brought creaminess and crunch.
My husband loved the dish too…I will most definitely make this pasta for us again! One thing I’ll make sure to do next time is reserve some of the pasta water and stir that in with the cooked pasta and beet pesto. The pasta was a tad on the dry side, so I think the starchy pasta water would ameliorate that. A drizzle of olive oil over the top could also do the trick.
We don’t have kids, but I’d imagine this would be a really fun dish for little ones because of the bright pink color and because SECRET VEGETABLES. You totally don’t even realize you’re eating a pile of beets as you slurp up this spaghetti.
This might just be my new favorite dish that incorporates beets. What’s your favorite beet dish?
*Even with the cleanup. The kitchen sink looked like a crime scene when I was finished making the pesto. And my fingernails are tinged with pink even after multiple hand washings and a shower!