Meatless Monday–Penne in Roasted Beet Sauce

Oh. My. Goodness.  This was unreal.  I mean unreal.  I knew we were in for a real treat when I pulled a foil packet from the oven, opened it, and saw this.

penne roasted beet sauce

Then, all those amazing, deep pink beets were puréed and stirred with cream and cheese to make this.  Yep.  That happened.  What you’re seeing is for real.


And finally, that gorgeous, rich sauce completely saturated simple penne to become what I can only describe as one of the most unique, eye-catching, heavenly dinners I’ve ever made.  

pasta roasted beet sauce

Penne in Roasted Beet Sauce

slightly adapted from Bev Cooks


6 medium beets, washed clean, stems removed

4 cloves garlic, peels left on

6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6 sprigs thyme

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

3 TBSP sweet vermouth

3/4 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 c. milk, cream, or half and half

1 lb. dried penne (I used whole wheat)

coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper

goat cheese or additional Parmesan, for garnish

2 TBSP poppy or chia seeds

mint leaves, for garnish


1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Place beets and garlic on a large sheet of foil.  Drizzle with 2 TBSP oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Completely seal foil into a packet and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 40 minutes. Check
for doneness; if beets can be easily pierced with a fork, they are ready.  (This step can be done up to two days in advance.  Just place the entire foil packet on a plate and keep in the refrigerator.  Bring back to room temperature before proceeding.)

2.  Using a paring knife, peel beets.  Cut into six pieces and put into a food processor with juices and oil from the packet.  Squeeze garlic from the peels and add thyme, vinegar,
vermouth, 1/2 c. cheese and remaining oil.  Pulse until mixture becomes as smooth as possible.

3.  Transfer beet mixture to a small saucepan.  Add the stock and milk or cream
and bring to a light simmer. Add the remaining cheese and another
pinch of salt.  Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the rest of the

4.  Toast the poppy seeds in a small skillet until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

5.  Set a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. 
Cook penne according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pot.

6.  Pour the
sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Taste and season, as needed.  Serve pasta garnished with additional cheese of your choice, and sprinkled with poppy or chia seeds and torn mint.  

yield: 4 as a main course or 6 as a side.

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  1. That Girl
    April 9, 2012 / 7:51 am

    This would make a fabulous Valentine's Day dish.

  2. branny
    April 9, 2012 / 9:29 am

    What a fun and interesting pasta dish. I'll be making it for sure.

  3. Cate
    April 9, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    Totally intrigued by this…and I LOVE the color!

  4. Kelsey
    April 9, 2012 / 5:53 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful sauce! I'm definitely intrigued by this.

  5. Fashionista Era
    April 9, 2012 / 6:19 pm

    nice one1Worldwide giveaway: 15 Harvey Prince Perfumes Giveaway on my blog

  6. Kira
    April 9, 2012 / 6:57 pm

    Wow! That is very visually striking!

  7. elly
    April 10, 2012 / 2:07 pm

    This looks fabulous! I love beets and it pairs especially well with goat cheese. Yum. What a beautiful dish!

  8. Heather N
    April 10, 2012 / 5:26 pm

    This is beautiful! Pinned, I'm coming back to this one 🙂

  9. Laura
    April 11, 2012 / 2:09 am

    What a colorful plate for dinner! I am not a huge fan of beets but the husband likes them, and I'll try almost anything roasted. We will be adding this to our weekly menu soon.

  10. Nicole, RD
    April 11, 2012 / 6:31 pm

    This is STUNNING! Look at that color, it's incredible!! I adore beets and can't wait to make this!

  11. Jessica
    April 12, 2012 / 12:32 am

    I'm so intrigued by how bright this pasta is! It sounds really good, love to mix up my pasta rotation.

  12. ErinsFoodFiles
    April 20, 2012 / 6:54 am

    So pretty!

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