For this edition of Presto Pasta Night you could well say that I trying to make a dish out of nothing.
The pasta I've chosen is quite a common one
and it's called Pipe Rigate (or Striped Pipes). These types of shapes are well suited to hearty sauces and strong flavours, the bent hollow shape providing a place for sauce to pool.
I'll be teaming this pasta in with an ingredient that is usually thrown away.
Not beetroot (or beets) but the stems and leaves. When I was at the market getting beetroots for another dish the ones I selected had the most fantastically fresh stems and leaves attached. It would indeed have been a waste not to use these.
The idea for this recipe is based on a traditional pasta dish that uses Cime di Rape which are Turnip greens. Here I am using a simple base of onions, garlic and pancetta to which the beetroot stems and leaves will be added.
The result - wonderfully colourful if I do say so myself!
Pipe Rigate with Pancetta, Beet Stems and Leaves
Pancetta, cut into a small dice
1 red onion, sliced finely
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
stems and leaves from 3 beetroots (beets)
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Separate the leaves from the stems.
Cook the stems in a pot of boiling water until starting to soften. Drain and cut into small pieces.
Roughly shred the leaves and set aside.
Heat up a little oil (you don't need to use much as the pancetta will release more as it cooks) and add the diced pancetta - cook over a medium heat until crisp. Turn the heat down and add the sliced onions and garlic and allow these to slowly sweat.
When the onions have softened and started to colour add the diced beetroot stems. Cook this slowly allowing the beetroot stems to release their colour and absorb the pan flavours.
When the pasta is almost cooked, add the leaves - toss them well through the mixture and keep them on the heat to wilt.
Taste and adjust the seasoning adding salt and pepper if required - depending on the pancetta you probably won't need to add any other seasoning.
Add the just drained pasta and toss through the sauce, keeping it on the heat. Sprinkle over with a handful of grated Parmigiano and cook for a minute, allowing the cheese to melt through the pasta.
Place into bowls and top with another sprinkle of Parmigiano.
Full of flavour and colour, it will delight all your senses.
Tagged with Pasta