Monday, March 22, 2010

Home, Home, Again - Pasta With Beet Greens

I miss Maui. I missed it as soon as the airplane took off and the turquoise waters and lush green mountains disappeared underneath me.

I walked out of my apartment in Berkeley in a tank top this morning. That was wishful thinking. It was only about 65 outside. Lovely for the Bay Area in Spring, but no 85 degree Maui weather. I spun around and walked right back inside to change.

I tried to remember to enjoy every second of the trip. I haven't been anywhere tropical since I was 13. Time seems to move so much more quickly when you're hyper conscious about not losing a single second of it. It slips away so fast!

It was the quintessential vacation, and I hope to go back to Maui sometime soon. (A girl can dream!)

But, more on the trip later. For now, a recipe. A great one.

I made this pasta with the leftover beet greens from the beet hummus. I have to say, I was expecting it to be fairly good (I love beet greens) but instead I got something amazing. I could have slurped the balsamic reduction up with a spoon, it was so good. And it looked unbelievably pretty on the plate. All fuchsia and maroon. I sort of danced around after the first bite, wishing someone else was present to witness and taste this glorious dish. It's the kind of dish that's meant to be shared, so, in that case, I'll have to make it again.

Pasta With Beet Greens

adapted from Gourmet
serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium red onions (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2
lb beet greens with stems (from about 2 bunches beets), stems cut into 1-inch pieces and leaves cut crosswise into 3-inch-wide pieces, divided
1 cup water, divided
lb spaghetti, bowtie pasta or penne
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until golden. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add beet stems, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften, about 12 minutes.

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.

Meanwhile, add beet leaves to onion mixture in handfuls, turning each handful with tongs until the leaves are wilted before adding next batch. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add olives, then add pasta and cook, tossing and moistening with some of the cooking water as necessary, just until liquid has thickened slightly. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

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