Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 18, 2007: Beetroot pesto pasta

Today's dinner inspiration comes from A Veggie Venture. Cindy was in the mood for a simple pesto-based pasta and, to mix things up a little, I decided to have a crack at this beet pesto instead of the standard basil option. There was a downside to this choice - the process of roasting beetroots is a lot more time-consuming than rinsing basil, but there were upsides too: successful beet-roasting, an interesting new pesto flavour, and easily the pinkest meal I've ever cooked.

By the time the beets had spent an hour or so in the oven roasting, dinner was a snap - the pesto took about 3 minutes to throw together in the food processor and then you just stir it through some cooked pasta with a few mushrooms and a bit of capsicum and then dinner is served. Piece of cake. The pesto dyes the pasta shocking pink, and adds a sweet, nutty flavour to what would otherwise be a fairly bland meal.

Beetroot pesto
4 beetroots
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Some leftover gruyere cheese (or whatever else is about the house)
1 bunch of coriander

Wash the beets and trim any unruly stalks off. Place them in a baking tray, splash a bit of oil and balsamic vinegar over them and then roast for an hour or so at about 200 degrees, turning a few times.

Once the beets are done (the skin will crackle and bubble a little, see above), take them out of the oven and let them cool. When they've stopped being too hot to handle, scrape the skin off and chop the beets coarsely.

Throw the beets and all the other ingredients into a food processor and whiz until it's a nice coarse texture (to be honest, for a pasta sauce, it might be better to up the olive oil a little).

Beetroot pesto pasta
Prepare beet pesto (above). Cook 1 packet of pasta, drain. Fry some mushrooms and capsicum in a little olive oil. Stir the pesto, vegies and pasta together. Voila!


  1. Oh, what a pretty bowl of pasta! That will win my heart, for sure since I love anything pink!!!

  2. Lovely - always lookig for ways to make beetroot taste a little less sweet. Great colour too.

  3. Anh, it really is amazing how the beetroot juice transforms ordinary pasta!

    Lucy, the beetroot adds a bit of sweetness to the pasta but the uncooked garlic guarantees some bite.

  4. Wow, that is gorgeous, Cindy! Pasta never had it so beautiful. Thanks for the recipe, too. Hello from San Diego. i have just discovered your blog and i like it a lot...


  5. Hi Kleopatra! I hope we'll see you back here again. :-)

  6. love the colour - sounds like a great idea for pasta