Sunday, April 05, 2009

Uncle Jean's Beet Pasta

This is what I woke up to today. Thank goodness spring is here, right? :)

A coating of snow on April 5th

Since I ran 18 miles yesterday, and because it is such a lovely, chilly April day with 30 MPH gusting winds, I thought it was time for another homemade pasta project.

I am probably in the minority on this, but beets are among my favorite vegetables. Not only do I find them sweet and delicious, but the red ones have such great color. I have purchased beet pasta before, and today I decided to make some on my own. I reviewed a bunch of different recipes, and the quantities are all over the map. So I just created my own recipe. Here is what went into it:

Uncle Jean's Beet Pasta

-3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-4 large whole eggs
-2 egg yolks
-2 tsp. olive oil
-1/2 cup pureed red beets (canned beets work great here)

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Create a well in the center of the bowl of flour. Add the whole eggs, egg yolks, olive oil, and pureed beets to the center of the well. Turn on the mixer and let the dough hook do its thing. Do this until the dough more or less comes together.

Turn everything out onto a floured board and start kneading! Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes silky and smooth. You will have an intensely pinkish-purple dough at this point!

Beet pasta dough, ready to roll

Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Now you can do anything with it. I rolled it through my pasta machine an cut it into long, wide, pappardelle-style noodles. I also cut out some small squares, pinched them, and made some farfalle ("bow tie") pasta for another occasion! You could also do stuffed pasta like ravioli (hmmm...I am already thinking about the possibilities of beet pasta with goat cheese filling....mmmmm!).

Rolling out the pasta into sheets

If ever a dish needed a little color, it is stroganoff. It is delicious, but the brownish-gray color leaves something to be desired. So I served my colorful pasta with a very tasty venison stroganoff.

Venison stroganoff with caramelized onions over red beet pappardelle

You can see the color of the pasta fades somewhat when cooked, but it still makes for a nice contrast and adds an interesting twist, if nothing else. Plus, homemade pasta is just downright fun to make and eat! Sides included some steamed broccoli and roasted golden beets (yes, more beets...more, more!). I'm already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Oh, and why is it "Uncle Jean's Beet Pasta?" Last night my brother and sister-in-law had a baby boy! So I am officially an uncle. :) Congratulations Blythe and Brett! I look forward to meeting the little guy over Easter!

Until next time,

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