Pesto is a stretch to apply here, but the technique is similar by replacing the basil with beets!
My family and I have been making and enjoying a version of this recipe for several years. I grew up not knowing or tasting beets because my dad strongly dislikes them. When I was an adult and tasted them for the first time, I thought I’d gone to heaven: an earthy, sweet root vegetable — yumm! Beets are for sure my spirit vegetable! I was always looking for new ways to cook them. When I had kids, well, let’s just say beets can be tough for some people. I came up with this approachable recipe and it is now lovingly called “Pink Pasta” at my house. Each year when we pull the beets out of the garden I can count on my kids to start chanting for, “Pink Pasta!” Hope y’all enjoy it too!
- 2 small bunches of beets or 1 large bunch (aiming for 1.5 lbs of the roots)
- 1 head of garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
- ½ cup toasted almonds
- ¼ cup ricotta, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, crushed red pepper
- Arugula or other micro/greens, for serving
- 1 pound pasta, cooked
1 – Preheat the oven to 400. Roast beets and garlic. Trim the greens and roots off the beets. Place on top of a large piece of foil, drizzle with oil, wrap up with foil and place in the oven for about an hour. A knife should pierce through them without any resistance when they’re done. Remove and let cool.
2 – With the garlic, trim the top of the garlic cloves off. Place whole head of garlic on a small piece of foil, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and wrap up in foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Note about picture: I was out of foil and just roasted in a small pan!
3 – Toast your almonds. Set aside to cool.
4 – Once beets are cool enough to handle, you should be able to slip the skin right off by lightly rubbing and removing the peel. Chunk the beets up into smaller pieces with a knife and place in food processor.
5 – Remove each garlic bulb from the skin. You can do this with a knife/fork by picking them out or give the whole thing a squeeze so that the roasted garlic pulp comes out straight into the food processor.
6 – Add toasted almonds, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup ricotta, and season with salt and pepper. Turn it on and process it into a creamy sauce for a few minutes, scraping down the sides to ensure consistency.
7 – Place into a large bowl. When pasta is ready, place hot pasta on top of the beetpesto and toss to combine! You may reserve some hot pasta cooking liquid and add this to the bowl to create an even more luxurious sauce.
8 – To serve, place a scoop of pasta on your plate/bowl, top with another scoop or ricotta, arugula greens, and crushed red pepper, if that’s your thing.