Recipe from the cook book, The Part-Time Vegetarian’s Year, by Nicola Graimes
Copyright © Watkins Media Limited 2020. Text copyright © Nicola Graimes 2020. Photography copyright © Haarala Hamilton 2020.
Nutritionally speaking, whole-wheat pasta beats white pasta hands down, yet its ‘brownness’, albeit fitting with the season, could be described as a bit lack-lustre. To brighten things up, cooked fresh beetroot is used here to add both colour and flavour to the pasta in this quick and easy meal.
200g of cooked beetroot in natural juice (not vinegar), drained and roughly chopped
75g of walnut pieces
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
100g of rindless soft goat’s cheese, crumbled or dairy-free alternative
4 handfuls of rocket
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water following the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, purée the beetroot using a hand-held stick/immersion blender and set aside.
Toast the walnuts in a large, dry frying pan for 3 minutes, tossing them occasionally until they start to colour. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Fry the garlic for 1 minute, then add the beetroot purée and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until reduced slightly.
When the pasta is cooked but still al dente, drain, reserving 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the beetroot along with enough of the cooking water to loosen the sauce. Using tongs, turn the pasta to coat it in the sauce, adding more of the cooking water if needed.
Divide the pasta between 4 large shallow bowls and scatter over the toasted walnuts and goat’s cheese just before serving. Top with the rocket and an extra drizzle of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Beetroot spaghetti with steak and walnuts
Swap the goat’s cheese and walnuts for 2 sirloin steaks. Season the steaks and drizzle with olive oil, then sear them briefly in a hot frying pan for 2–3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking, turning once. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then cut into thin slices. Serve on top of the pasta with shavings of Parmesan and a good handful of rocket leaves.