Semolina Beet Pasta
Written by K.M.
To be honest, beets are not my favorite vegetable. Seven years ago, I decided to get myself a CSA which came with a bounty of beets mid-to-late summer every year. I came up with this recipe to help me tackle them without wasting anything, despite my lack of excitement for the root. What it yields is a gorgeous, healthy pasta that, frankly, has very little beet flavor but all the nutrition and beauty of these ruby gems.
Semolina Beet Pasta
Prep time: 90 Minutes
Cook time: 5 Minutes
For the beet puree:
2 medium beets
For the beet semolina pasta dough:
1¼ cups (200 grams) semolina rimacinata
¼ cup (55 grams) beet puree
Scant ¼ cup (50 grams) warm water
To make the beet puree:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the beets, trim the tough ends and leave whole. Wrap them in foil and roast for 40 minutes to an hour, until very tender when pierced with a knife. Allow to cool and cut into manageable pieces for your food processor. Process them with a splash of water if needed to get the mixture smooth and homogenous. This puree freezes very well for future pasta making!
To make the semolina beet pasta dough:
Mix the beet puree and warm water in a small bowl. Dump measured flour onto a clean work surface and make a large well with your fingers in the center. Pour in the water and beet mixture and use a fork to gently whisk the flour into the puree little by little, until a shaggy dough starts to form.
Clean the flour from the fork and begin to knead the dough together with your hands. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby to help along with the hydration if need be, depending on your flour, the humidity, etc. This is a dry, somewhat tough dough so more flour shouldn’t be necessary. Knead for roughly ten minutes, until smooth and springy.
Wrap in plastic and let rest 30 minutes to 1 hour. Don’t let this dough rest in the fridge overnight like you might do with other pasta, as it will acquire a grey tinge that’s slightly unappealing.
Roll the dough into a variety of shapes. This will work well with any semolina shape, but I think it’s particularly lovely as cavatelli, pici, or orecchiette. Boil in salted water for 4-10 minutes, depending on your shape, or until al dente.
Beet pasta goes well with a wide variety of sauce pairings. I love a sausage and broccoli situation with orecchiette, while brown butter and sage or cacio e pepe are lovely with just about any kind of shape.