What better why to share the love this Valentine’s Day than making homemade pasta together? Kids adore pasta, why not color it pink naturally using beets! I couldn’t resist this healthy twist for a conventional recipe. The color is vibrant red from the beets but does fade somewhat after cooking. Even though the color is bright the taste is subtle, don’t be afraid. Tricky way to get the kids to eat their veggies right?
Step-by-step instructions to follow. A pasta machine works best but you could just roll out the dough if needed. You will have to roll it pretty thin. I like the fettucini setting but choose what you like. Sometimes I put butter and parmesan cheese on the pasta or alfredo sauce, just depends on my mood. The taste of fresh pasta is so much better than noodles from a box.
This is the fettucini setting above. When you are sending the dough through the press I go all the way to #5. I prefer my pasta on the thinner side.
4-child size servings
1 red beet, about 1/4 to 1/2 pound, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large egg, at room temperature
TO PREPARE THE BEET PUREE
- Place beet pieces in a small pot and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
- Add salt and olive oil to drained beets and blend with a stick blender or in a small food processor. Puree until the mixture is a very smooth paste. Set aside.
TO PREPARE THE DOUGH
- In a small bowl, add flour, semolina flour and egg and mix with a fork until the egg disappears.
- Add 1/3 cup of the beet puree and work this in with the fork until fully incorporated. You will likely have some loose flour remaining in the bowl, which is OK.
- Place the dough and the extra flour on a cutting board.
Knead with the palm of your hand until all the flour has been incorporated. If the dough is sticky, you may need to add a bit more flour (a little at a time) to reach the desired consistency. Be careful not to add too much flour so that the pasta dough becomes dry.
Continue to knead the dough until it springs back when poked with a finger. Now the dough needs a “nap”. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator from 1 to up to 24 hours.
ROLLING AND CUTTING THE PASTA
If you do not have a pasta machine, a rolling-pin works just fine here. divide the dough ball into quarters and place the quarters, 1 at a time, on a well floured board or countertop. Keep the unused dough as thin as possible (it will thicken when cooked).
Using a sharp knife, cut the pasta into long strips, about 1/4 inch wide. After cutting, toss the strips of pasta lightly with semolina flour to prevent sticking.
If you are using a pasta machine, send the quartered balls through the numbered rollers to make thin sheets all the way to #5.
Then send the sheets of pasta through the fettucini rollers. After cutting, toss the strips of pasta lightly with semolina flour to prevent sticking.
TO COOK AND SERVE
Cook the pasta immediately in salted, boiling water (the water you reserved from boiling the beets adds extra color) for approximately 2-3 minutes, drain and serve with your favorite sauce or simply butter or olive oil and salt and pepper.
If you are not going to cook and eat the pasta immediately, you can dry the strips by hanging them over a wooden spoon or other suitable, clean surface. Don’t allow the pasta strips to touch each other until they are thoroughly dried or they will stick together.