From The Inspired Vegetarian, Louise Pickford, Stewart, Tabori & Chang Inc., 1992.
Having a cooked beetroot left over after making a salad, I decided to make a pasta coloured with the beetroot. I don’t feel that coloured pastas seem to take on much of the flavour of the colouring vegetable but they certainly look good.
I took 2 cups of strong flour, added a teaspoon salt and mixed in 2 beaten eggs and a little olive oil. To this I added about half of the large beetroot that had been pureed in the blender. With my hands I kneaded the dough for a good 5 minutes adding olive oil occasionally to get it to the right consistency. When it felt right I covered it and left it for another half an hour.
The dough was now cut into four pieces and one at a time they went through the pasta machine until they reached thickness 4. They next went through the fettuccine cutter and they were basically ready. I ended up only using two pieces of the dough as this seemed ample for two people. The rest I’ll use to make some tortellini later.
I now prepared the ingredients for the sauce. I chopped a good couple of handfuls of walnuts and set them aside. Two garlic cloves were chopped. A handful of basil leaves was chopped. A lemon was zested and the zest put with the garlic and basil. Now I washed sufficient baby spinach leaves for the dish. I could only really go by guesswork for this. The leaves were now sliced very thinly. The best was to do this was to take a number of leaves, pack them together and then slice through the lot. They cut up quite easily. All was now ready for the final step.
A pot of salted water was put on to bring to the boil. A large frying pan was put on to heat up a couple of tablespoons walnut oil. The garlic, basil and zest went into the frying pan. The pasta went into the boiling water. It only took a minute or two before the garlic was cooked sufficiently so the spinach leaves were added to wilt. A little nutmeg was grated into the spinach as it wilted.
By now the pasta was cooked so it was drained and then added to the pan with the spinach. Tongs were used to mix this all fully and then to serve it. Walnuts were sprinkled over the helping on the plates, together with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
This certainly looked good with the green spinach contrasting strongly with the reddened pasta. It tasted good too. The pasta was nicely al dente and the spinach came through well with its hint of nutmeg. I am used to having parmesan cheese grated over pasta but it was not missed at all with the crunchy walnuts.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔
In One Word: Colourful