Beetroot Pasta with goats curd and candied walnuts
The crimson intensity of the beetroot pasta makes this dish look like a watercolour painting on a plate and I envisage eating it in some delightful sun-drenched courtyard while swilling a glass of rose, and enjoying all of my first world problems. Even if you’re not fond of the idea of beetroot pasta, the taste is quite subtle and it’s inclusion shouldn’t put you off. I had one beetroot dubious taste tester inform me that he “felt like he was eating the Kremlin.” The feeling was obviously short lived because he polished off the plate and went in for a second round. If the idea of all that kneading turns you cold, a lot of specialist grocers are stocking beetroot and other flavoured pastas so you can skip that step and just cook according to packet instructions then add the other ingredients at the end.
Serves 4 as a light meal
150g goats curd
½ cup walnuts (or nuts of your choice)
1 cup (firmly packed) mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 ½ tbsp caramelised white balsamic (substitute with sweetened balsamic glaze if unavailable)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
300g 00 flour
3 eggs, lightly whisked
3 tablespoons pureed beetroot (fresh beetroot roasted)
Semolina to prevent pasta from sticking
Prepare the pasta by adding the flour to a large bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and beetroot puree to the well. Begin to incorporate the flour into the wet mix then stir until a rough dough forms. Turn out onto a flat work surface dusted lightly with flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about five minutes). Shape into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into four, then, working with one piece at a time, feed through pasta machine rollers, starting at the widest setting. Lightly flour dough as you fold and feed it through, reducing settings notch by notch, until pasta is 3mm thick. If not cooking immediately, toss a generous amount of semolina through your pasta strands as the beetroot pasta is a little stickier than your normal pasta and the semolina will prevent the strands from clumping. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until the pasta rises to the top and is al dente in texture.
Place a fry pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and lightly toast. Add the caramelized white balsamic and cook for 1 minute or until the nuts take on a candied, glazed appearance. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until the pasta rises to the top and is al dente in texture. Strain and add to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss lightly to combine.