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.
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.
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.