Last week, we picked up our first bunch of beets for the season. It was a small bunch, not enough to make our favorite beet dish: Beets and Walnuts in and Orange-Balsamic Sauce (most times we omit the orange juice). So, we had to make up something else. We originally decided on a beet ravioli, but, as you’ll see through this week, that changed just a bit.
We won’t tell you all the changes; instead, we’ll let them unfold in a manner similar to the way it happened. That has the added advantage of breaking the recipes into pieces, each of which can stand on its own, allowing you to mix and match from among other similar recipes that you might prefer.
Today, we start with pasta dough: beet pasta dough.
You can use practically any kind of flour; we often go with half all-purpose and half white whole-wheat, but, for this pasta, we wanted to make sure the dough was smooth, so we went with 100% all-purpose. You’ll note that we don’t give exact measurements for this recipe. It goes partly on feel, but, if you want, you can try using 150 grams of flour to 90 grams of purée, as we find this the best ratio of flour to liquid.
Procedure in detail:
Boil and peel beet. Place the beet in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the beet is easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from heat, drain, and allow to cool, or hold under running cold water until cool. Once cool, you can easily slip off the peel with your fingers.
Purée beet. Place the beet in the bowl of a food processor with about 1/4 cup of water and pulse a few times to get the chopping started. Let the processor run until you have a smooth, bright pink purée, about a minute.
Make dough. While the food processor is running, stir together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, and, when the purée is ready, pour it in. Use your fingers to work the mixture into a dough. As you work, you might need to add more flour, or water, a bit at a time, until you have a non-sticky, but supple dough.
Knead. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth and uniform in color, about 5 minutes. At first it looks quite ragged and floury, but it comes together; just give it time.
Rest. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes.
Shape. Roll or shape into whatever pasta shapes you want. We have quite a few that you can try right here.
We love the color of this pasta dough: bright pink that stands out from plain, old, ordinary pasta. Now, the flavor isn’t that much different from ordinary pasta, and, without the egg, it’s slightly less rich than our basic pasta dough. But, it’s all worth it for the stand-out color. Five pink stars!