Monday, October 24, 2011

Pasta with beets, beet greens (and Italian sausage)

I like beets, preferably fresh (golden) beets, not canned. However, I can only enjoy them in moderation. Meanwhile, A is not much of a fan. Having received two golden beets in this week's produce share I searched out a recipe that did not merely use beets in a salad. My results in Epicurious yielded a pasta recipe with several dozen positive reviews. I skimmed through most of them and decided to incorporate a few revisions to tailor it toward our tastes.

Golden beets are definitely more mild in taste, and thankfully, do not stain to the extent of red beets. My preferred method of preparing beets is to roast them whole, skin intact, wrapped in foil at 425 degrees for 60-90 minutes. They will be fork tender, and the skin will slip right off.

My other two modifications were to use goat cheese instead of parmesan and add two Italian sausages that I had leftover from a previous meal. I wanted the goat cheese to melt into the hot pasta and create a tangy and creamy sauce. I've always been a fan of pairing beets with goat cheese. Italian sausage was also included because I wanted to take this healthful recipe to another level. The written cast of ingredients seemed to be lacking depth.

I had never prepared the beet greens when we had them on hand previously. I was a little disappointed by how plain they seemed since I anticipated them to be bitter. In the end, I had pretty low expectations of this meal. I feared that we'd both dislike it, but we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it enough to have seconds. Roasting the golden beets created a flavor and texture reminiscent of carrots. 

Pasta with Golden beets, beet greens, and Italian Sausage
Adapted from Epicurious

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions, halved lengthwise through root end, sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)

2 Italian sausages, casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 golden beets separated from fresh healthy greens

12 ounces short shaped pasta
2-4 oz goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in foil and roast for 60-90 minutes until tender. 
2. Add 2 tablespoons oil and sliced onions to a skillet. Saute until tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Move onions to the side, and make room for Italian sausages in the center.Cook until the sausages brown.Add the minced garlic. Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil and beet greens. Cook until wilted.
3. While the onions are cooking, prepare boiling water for pasta. Follow package instructions for preparing pasta. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
4. Peel the roasted beets and slice into thin wedges.
5. Add beets, pasta, goat cheese and reserved pasta water to the skillet. Mix ingredients thoroughly and season with fresh ground black pepper. 


  1. hmm. I love beets. Have you tried them raw? I cut them up in matchsticks or just sliced thin and eat them. I have also roasted them and then pureed them with some tahini to make a beet hummus that was amazing with pita bread. I also have a recipe for using golden beets in a soup with apples and cashews (called ABC soup! perfect for you!) that I got from the book Garden of Eating. If I have extra beets that I dont know what to do with, I puree them and put them in a chocolate cake ala Farmer Johns cookbook.

  2. Thank you for the appetizing suggestions. I will definitely refer to them next time I have beets on hand!