This is the last post about the beet ravioli that morphed into beet greens-filled agnolotti. Let’s bring everything together for the week and make a delicious dinner. To recap, we made up Beet Pasta Dough (Monday’s post), and some Beet Green and Goat Cheese Filling (Tuesday’s post), which we used to make up a batch of Agnolotti (Thursday’s post), and, today we’ll show you how to make a brown butter-beet sauce to tie it all together.
We just made up this sauce and recipe. It wasn’t based on anything, except, perhaps, a Brown Butter Sage Sauce that we’ve made in the past. If you’ve not had a browned butter sauce, you’re in for a treat. Try it once and you’ll wonder how you did without such an easy sauce.
What can we say, except that we really suggest using unsalted butter? That way, you can as much salt as you like, not how much the butter manufacturer thinks you like. It’s your meal, after all. Well, a few more things. Obviously, you can use another hard grating cheese instead of Pecorino Romano, such as Parmesan, or Asiago. And, of course, this will be good with another filled pasta, too.
Procedure in detail:
Toast walnuts. Toasting nuts brings out and deepens their flavor, and it takes only 10 minutes, making it something you want to do when you use any sort of nut. Simply place the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat, and, stirring or shaking the pan often, cook until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Once toasted, transfer to a cutting board and chop into pieces about 1/4 inch in size, and let cool. Note that nuts burn easily, so feel free to err on the side of caution and remove them from the heat sooner, rather than later. They’ll still be good.
Brown butter. As do nuts, butter burns easily, so watch what you’re doing. Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted, start swirling the butter in the pan. Continue, and you’ll see the butter go through several phases. It’ll get foamy, then sputter a bit as water cooks off, then, finally, the butter will start to brown and the milk solids will settle to the bottom of the pan. Once the butter is golden brown — it’ll smell somewhat like caramel — and the solids have begun to darken, it’s time to add the beets.
Add beets and hold. Place the sliced beets in the butter — careful, they’ll spatter in the butter — sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir to coat, and turn the heat to very low to hold the butter sauce while you cook the agnolotti. We’re sure professionals, or even more experienced cooks, can time everything perfectly and have the pasta ready just as the butter browns, but we like to pay attention when we brown butter so it doesn’t burn.
Cook agnolotti. Bring a large kettle of salted water to a simmer — not a boil, which would break apart the agnolotti — add the filled pasta, and simmer, stirring with a slotted spoon until they float to the surface. Continue to simmer for another 2 minutes.
Toss. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the agnolotti from the simmering water to the butter sauce and gently stir to coat. The agnolotti are fragile, so use care as you stir so they don’t break apart.
Serve. Divide between warmed bowls, top with chopped toasted walnuts and grated Pecorino Romano, and enjoy.
We loved this sauce, rich, but not heavy, and it paired well with the beets, goat cheese, and walnuts. But, don’t let that stop you from using another filled pasta, or even something as simple as fettuccine in place of the agnolotti. We liked the fact that we hit the beet trifecta: beet pasta, beet green filling, and beets in the sauce. It’s a perfect way to use a bunch of beets. Fives.