Yes, beet greens! As in the leaves from a bunch of beetroot – the new kid on the superfood block. Who knew they could be this delicious? All that dark green leafy goodness invalidates any potential guilt you may feel about pairing it with mountains of silky pasta and creamy ricotta.
And in other news, I now live in Sydney, Australia, and I’m taking advantage of the fabulous food experiences this city has to offer (sea salt soft serve, hot golden knafeh, freshly made gozleme are just a few). Grocery shopping in a new country is exciting too (is that sad?), with so many new ingredients and products to try (funny story about Vegemite coming soon).
Cooking, on the other hand, is quite an interesting challenge. At the moment, I have a single frying pan, a saucepan and a borrowed pot to work with. My inventory of pantry staples is slowly building up, so I try to plan my meals using simple ingredients with loads of flavour.
This pasta fits the bill perfectly. It is quick and easy, but packs a punch with the freshly squeezed lemon juice which work so well with the slightly bitter greens. Ricotta balances out the lemon and adds richness without being too heavy. For texture, I tossed some toasted, chopped walnuts over the top. All you need to finish off this dish is some grated parmesan and an extra crack of black pepper.
The measurements in this recipe are not exact. Go with your instinct and adjust quantities to taste.
Pasta with Beet Greens, Lemon and Ricotta
- 200g fettuccine
- leaves from a bunch of beetroot (about 4 beetroot)
- juice of 1.5-2 lemons (you want the lemon flavour to be quite pronounced)
- 100 g ricotta
- 1 heaped tsp minced garlic
- a glug of olive oil
- a handful of toasted walnuts
- Shaved parmesan for topping
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Rinse the beetroot leaves well, making sure there’s no sand on them, then roughly chop them, as you would spinach or chard.
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Keep aside about a cup of the cooking water.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, until golden brown.
- Add the beet leaves and cook until wilted. You may need to add the leaves in stages to ensure it all fits in the pan. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Add half the lemon juice and cook till most of the liquid is evaporated.
- Use tongs to work the pasta into the beetroot, then add the remaining lemon juice. If the mixture is too dry, add the pasta water according to your discretion, a little at a time, till you get a gleaming mixture.
- Mix in the ricotta, then check the seasoning and lemon, and adjust if necessary.
- Toss some walnuts and parmesan over the pasta, then give it a good crack of black pepper. Enjoy hot.