Valentine’s Day Pasta


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I was talking with one of my sweet friends this week trying to figure out what she should make with the beets she received from her coop and it reminded me of this amazing pasta recipe we tried a couple of years ago. We rarely cook with beets, but this one is definitely worth the minimal effort you have to put in AND it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day because it’s red. 🙂 The basic recipe for Penne Pasta in a Roasted Beet Sauce is below, but you could add chicken to make it a little heartier. We also tried something a little differently this time and sauteed the beet leaves – very tasty!

style tip: don’t wear white while you cook because the red dye of the beets will most definitely stain your clothing


* 3 medium-sized beets, cleaned and cut into a small dice (make sure they are more on the small/medium side or it will mess up the consistency)
* 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 3 sprigs thyme
* 3 cloves garlic
* 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
* 2 Tbs. vermouth
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
* 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
* 1/4 cup cream or milk
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 1/2 pound penne pasta
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 Tbs. poppy seeds
* mint leaves, for garnish


1. Preheat your oven to 400.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced beets with 1 Tbs. oil, thyme sprigs and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.

3. Transfer beets to a food processor. Add the garlic, balsamic vinegar, vermouth, half of the cheese and the 2 remaining Tbs. oil. Pulse until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

4. Transfer beet mixture to a small saucepan. Add the stock and cream and bring to a light simmer. Add the sugar, remaining cheese and another pinch of salt. Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the rest of the meal. Taste it. Oh I know.

5. Toast the poppy seeds in a small skillet until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (this part can really be done at any stage)

6. Cook the penne until al dente. Drain and return to skillet. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine.

7. Serve pasta garnished with a sprinkle of the poppy seeds and the mint leaves. And more cheese to taste!

8. Enjoy!

xo – anna