Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Penne with Beets, Beet Greens and Mushrooms

I've made this pasta dish twice recently. Whenever I see beets with bright clusters of fresh-looking greens attached, I must buy them. I'll get two bunches and roast all the beets (my method is so easy; you don't have to rub them with oil or use a peeler), which gives me enough for two meals.

Half the beets go into this pasta dish along with the greens, and the rest usually go into a big main dish salad. I've also made beet soup and served the sauteed greens on the side. The idea is that you have so many options from such a cheap (and nutritious!) vegetable. Next time I bring some home, I need to make this beet green frittata. And I'm probably due for this pretty beet risotto again. I've never grated raw beets for a salad or slaw, but that sounds like something I need to try too. Do you have any favorite recipes for beets?

Penne with Beets, Beet Greens and Mushrooms
For this dish, I like a lot of vegetables and a moderate amount of pasta, so I'm only calling for 6 ounces of penne. If you want more penne, you can certainly use more and alter my ratio. If you can't find fresh beet greens, you can substitute Swiss chard or even spinach.

Serves 2 to 3

2 bunches beets with greens (6-8 beets)
1 Tbs olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Red pepper flakes to taste
6 oz whole wheat penne
1 cup cannellini beans (from a 14 oz. can), rinsed
1 to 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Separate the beet greens about an inch above the beet roots (do not trim that inch of stems from beet roots, as it prevents juice from bleeding during cooking). Discard the stems and remove the thick ribs from the leaves. Chop leaves and set aside.

Preheat to 425 F. Wrap beets in 2 or 3 foil packets, leaving some space in the packets, but sealing them tightly. Roast on a baking sheet for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (depending on size of beets) or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Carefully open foil packs so heat can escape. When beets are cool enough to handle trim the stem and root ends and slip off the skin; cut into chunks. Refrigerate half the beets for another use, like a salad. Beets may be cooked up to 1 day ahead.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and beet greens. Toss until greens begin to wilt; continue cooking until greens are very soft. Season and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook the penne in generously salted water according to package directions. Before draining penne, reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water. Return cooked penned to the pot you cooked it in and add mushroom mixture, chopped beets and cannellini beans. Mix well. Serve with crumbled feta.


Georgie Fear RD said...

That looks and sounds fabulous, and I agree that a smaller proportion of pasta would be my preference as well. More veggies! And it helps keep the calories down, too. :)

I use a similar foil packet technique, and I'd say my favorite way to have beets is warm, on a salad with either goat cheese or feta.

Daniel said...

I absolutely love recipes like this that are healthy, easy to prepare, really inexpensive--and yet just a little bit different. Thanks Julie, for sharing yet another keeper!

Dan @ Casual Kitchen

Barbara said...

In that beets are just about my favorite veggie, I am loving this dish!

Lena said...

Enjoying reading your blog here. Happy holiday shopping to you and your blog readers.

Denise Michaels @ Adventurous Foodie said...

Love this combination of beets, greens and feta cheese. Wonderful Christmas colors. I'm not a big pasta lover so I'll find a different way to make it work - but it sounds amazing.

Krissy said...

Ooohhhh this looks good. I just saw a recipe over at Pearl and Pine that uses beets and pasta http://pearlandpine.blogspot.com/2011/05/sighing-is-optional.html. I need to get this going today.