Well, 2017 is shaping up to be quite a year so far. I had originally intended for this post to be in support of Planned Parenthood because the color of this pasta screams girl power! But in light of the events of this past weekend, I'm going to cast a wider net. To be frank, the efforts our new president and congress have been making to defund Planned Parenthood, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to ban people from entering this country based on national origin regardless of immigration status—those efforts cut my heart to the core.
As a woman who believes in her own bodily autonomy, who believes that affordable healthcare is a right and not a privilege, it baffles me that these people who think abortion is a horrible sin are the same ones who want to take away our access to affordable birth control. As an immigrant and former green card holder who only recently (a short 9 months ago) finally gained citizenship after 23 years of living in this country, I cannot fundamentally believe that barring permanent residents who were on vacation from returning home or turning away refugees who are the very victims of terrorism and war is supposed to be good for our "national security".
We cannot sit idly by while they strip away our rights one by one, so if these are issues close to your heart, please join me in donating to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU today. To offer you a little more incentive (in case you can't donate as much as you would like or you just need a little nudge) if you send me a receipt of your donation to summer(at)oandoeats.com I will match your donations dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $500 per organization. Now is the time to fight for what we believe in, so whether you donate, protest, or call your representatives, just know that I'm with you. We are in this together.
I realize that posting a recipe seems kind of hollow at a time like this, but our bodies still need nourishment to fight, and alas this is a food blog first and foremost. I hope you enjoy this bold pink, girl power, immigrant power pasta.
I like to think there’s no wrong way to make pasta. This recipe uses a little over double the amount of all-purpose flour compared to semolina to yield a tender pasta with a little bite. If you want a heartier pasta you could up it to a 1:1 ratio. Also the recipe is pretty lenient when it comes to the amount of beet purée for simplicity sake. When you’re working with the dough you can always add more flour or liquid depending on the consistency and texture, just knead away and it will come together.
Beets can be roasted by wrapping them in foil and throwing them in a 375 degree F oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
Makes about 1 & 1/2 lbs of dough, serves about 6.
For the pasta:
10 oz all-purpose or 00 flour
4 oz semolina flour
1 medium beet, roasted, peeled and puréed (about 5 to 6 tbsp purée)
2 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
For the pesto:
1 medium to large beet, roasted, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
garlic breadcrumbs to serve (optional)
For the pasta:
On a clean counter, mound the all-purpose and semolina flours together and create a well in the middle. Add eggs, egg yolks, and beet purée to the well. Use your fingers to break up the egg yolks and start drawing in flour using a swirling motion. Keep mixing in this fashion until the dough becomes sticky and difficult to swirl. At this point, take a bench scraper and gather the dough into a ball. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic (it should bounce back when you press in with your fingers). If at any point while you're kneading, the dough is too dry or too sticky, add more flour or water as needed. Also if it gets too difficult to knead, you can let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes before continuing. Once the dough is ready, cover with an inverted bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
Split the dough into six equal portions. Flour each portion then take them through the lowest setting of your pasta machine. Fold each portion into thirds like a letter and take them through the lowest setting again. Take the dough through the subsequent settings of your pasta machine until you reach your desired thickness. Cut the noodles using the fettuccine attachment (or by hand if you want a thicker type of noodle). If not using immediately, dust the pasta in flour and lay it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can let the pasta dry for a bit before transferring it to the freezer.
For the pesto:
Place chopped beets, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse to combine, then with the motor still running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Blend until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. If not using immediately, place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta (about 4 oz/person as a main course) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and reserve a small amount of pasta water. Drain the pasta then return to the pan and add beet pesto, pasta water as needed, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together, top with optional breadcrumbs, and enjoy immediately.