Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts


We may be in the middle of a heat wave, but I’ve been cooking like crazy. In a desperate attempt to keep up with my weekly CSA pick-up, I’ve been baking frittatas, roasting veggies, concocting soups, stir-frying, and making pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. Perhaps too much pasta, but Mr. Yummy Brooklyn has yet to complain.

This week I revisited a Bon Appetit recipe for Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts, a dish I made a couple of years ago after moving to Brooklyn and buying beets for the first time at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. The recipe exemplifies “root to shoot” cooking as both the earthy beet roots and their leafy green tops are used. It also encourages water conservation in the kitchen by using the same pot of water to boil the beets and the pasta.

Because of the latter, Bon Appetit’s warns that “you can use red beets if golden beets are unavailable, but your pasta will be pink.” As if that’s a bad thing. When I discovered we were getting red beets from Common Hands Farm, I couldn’t wait to make this bold pasta dish again.

Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts
Serves: 4-6

  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, quartered lengthwise through root end, sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches 2-inch-diameter beets with greens; beets peeled, each cut into 8 wedges, greens cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 12 ounces farfalle (I used whole wheat – try white for even pinker pasta!)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for serving

  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil and onions to same skillet and sauté until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until onions are tender and browned.
  3. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
  5. Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in ⅓ cup cheese.
  6. Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and more cheese. Devour.



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