Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Farro Spaghetti with Beets, Brown Butter, and Poppy Seeds

This is the story of the recipe that made me LOVE beets.

The first time I ever had a beet was a couple years ago when I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture).  Often times I would get vegetables that I wouldn't normally buy and sometimes, I wouldn't even know what the mystery vegetables were in my box.  But it's okay.  I'm an adventurous person.  As I used my beets in the past for things like Greek Salsa or simply roasting them or pickling them, I adored their bright pink color (except for when they stained my hands...and anything else the beets came in contact with...).  But in terms of taste, I could take it or leave it.  Beets are slightly sweet and very earthy.  They were just okay.

It was not until I came across this recipe that I fell in love.  I wasn't too sure about them at first but am so glad to have made it because it changed my life.  I happily ate it at dinner and then the leftovers again the very next day for lunch.  Now, it could be that I love pasta...and cheese...and butter (yeah, who doesn't love real butter?  Browned butter?  Even better.).  But the beets, with their regular beautifully bold hot pink color and slightly sweet, earthy flavor, were perfectly complemented by the rich browned butter, toasted poppy seeds, and salty yet creamy goat cheese.  Okay, so I accidentally bought feta at the grocery instead of goat.  Still fabulous but I bet the goat cheese would have added a wonderful melty tang.

I beg of you, try this!!  It will change your life.  Even if you don't like beets or are indifferent.

One Year Ago: Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

Farro Spaghetti with Beets, Brown Butter, and Poppy Seeds

Farro Spaghetti with Beets, Brown Butter, and Poppy Seeds


  • 1 pound red beets, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound good-quality farro or whole wheat spaghetti (I used penne because I was out of spaghetti...how does that happen??)
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes (optional - I added this because I like a little heat to my pasta)
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 1/4 pound goat's milk cheese (Feta is yummy, too!)
  1.   Preheat the oven to 400F.  Place the beets in a glass or ceramic baking dish.  Cover with olive oil and water.  Bake until a tester easily passes through the beets, about 1 1/4 hours.  Let cool.  Note: This step can be done the evening in advance and stored in the refrigerator to expedite the next evening's dinner.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Peel the cooled beets and cut into chunks.  Add to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process to a rough puree.  Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
  4. In a large skillet over high heat, add the butter.  Brown the butter, about 2 minutes.  Add the poppy seeds and toast for 2 minutes more.  Add the pureed beets, salt, a couple dashes of red pepper flakes (if desired) and 1/4 cup pasta water.  Stir to full incorporate.
  5. Using a wire-mesh skimmer or tongs, remove the spaghetti from the pot and place them directly in the skillet with the sauce.  Stir to combine.
  6. Divide the spaghetti into equal portions and place on warm plates.  Use two round or oval soup spoons to form little balls of the goat cheese.  Place a ball on top of each serving of pasta.  Serve immediately.
Source: Barely modified from Epicurious, December 2009 and Pasta Sfoglia by Ron and Colleen Suhanosky 

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!  Thanks to This and That for being a hostess and letting me know about the party :).


Unknown said...

This sounds delicious... I love beets and can just eat them plain... I do have some goat cheese, bought it thinking I would like but not too sure about that... but maybe it would change if I used this recipe. I am going to give this a try. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday and remember to come back and vote on Sunday. Also going to share this on my facebook fan page.

Cindys Recipes said...

I love beets hot or cold! Thanks for sharing at Foodie friends Friday!