Difficulty Level Easy
I was telling my daughter that I wanted to try making some spinach pasta in the pasta maker that she and her brother gave me for Christmas, now that I've made regular pasta a number of times. I made some lemon pepper pasta, but I felt I was ready for something a bit more substantial. She suggested that I check out Jamie Oliver's early cookbook The Naked Chef for a number of different types of pasta. I was so taken with the gorgeous colour of the beet pasta, that I just had to try that one.
I didn't actually use Oliver's recipe, I just stole his idea. I'm comfortable with the recipe I've been using, so I just added about 1/3 cup pureed beets and used 2 eggs rather than 3. I did take his suggestion to make it in a standing mixer rather than by hand with the traditional well of flour holding in the egg. That meant the gorgeous beet colour stayed in the pasta rather than making my hands pink for a day or so.
I didn't know who much of a beet flavour the pasta would have, so I wasn't quite sure what to do for the sauce. I decided to do something rustic, and made one of my husband's favourite meals. I used broccoli rabe otherwise known as rapini. It has a pretty robust, bitter taste, so if you want something milder you could use regular broccoli, or something leafy like kale or swiss chard. Don't feel you have to make your own pasta to use this topping, I've been making it for years. You can dry the broccoli rabe if you want to, but I usually leave some water clinging to it, so it sizzles quite a lot when you add it to the pan. This is a toss together recipe, so add or subtract the garlic and hot peppers to your own taste. My husband loves the toasted garlic, so I usually put it on top of his bowl of pasta as a type of garnish.
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|2||cloves garlic, peeled and smashed|
|1/4 ‑ 1/2 tsp||crushed chili peppers|
|1 head||broccoli rabe, leaves and florets, washed and roughly chopped|
|fresh lemon juice|
|salt and pepper to taste|
|grated Parmesan cheese|
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. When oil is shimmering, add garlic and stir. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until it is golden brown, taking care not to burn it. Remove garlic and set aside. Add crushed chilies and stir until fragrant.
- Add broccoli rabe and stir to coat with olive oil. Allow to cook until wilted, about 5 - 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Squeeze some lemon juice over top and add salt and pepper to taste. Test for seasoning and add more lemon if needed.
- Meanwhile cook pasta in a pot of boiling water, 8 to 10 minutes for dried, packaged pasta, or 3 or 4 for fresh pasta. Drain.
- Spoon broccoli rabe over pasta and grate some Parmesan cheese over top. Serve immediately.
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