April 3, 2013
Man, beets are pretty, aren't they? In a murder-y sort of way (the best kind of pretty), which made me lose the ability to edit down the number of photos in this post. So vibrant!
It all started when LoMo Market added a new stop to their weekly tour of the Triangle - the closest one to my house to date. LoMo is basically a farmer's market in a food truck - a great, mobile option if you miss the actual farmer's market, or just want to keep your grocery shopping as seasonal and local as possible. Along with an amazing baguette from Guglhupf, a fancy chocolate milk from Maple View Farm (for Micah), and some hydroponic "living lettuce" for salads, I picked up some beautiful Chioggia beets yesterday and was immediately inspired to flavor pasta with them. (Though - Chioggias specifically might be even more striking sliced thin and served raw to showcase their unique "candy stripes." Next time!)
The beets were lightly roasted to soften them, pureed with a few eggs, then folded into a whole wheat flour and durum semolina blend. Then pasta-making autopilot activates: add flour until dough is barely sticky. Knead until smooth. Cover and rest for at least 30 minutes (a time block I usually use to make filling if I'm making stuffed pasta). Divide dough into 3-4 sections. Roll out each section multiple times through consecutively thinner settings on the pasta attachment. If I'm making stuffed pasta, I'll start constructing them immediately while the dough sheets are still moist. If I'm making cut pasta, I'll let them dry just for a bit, until they get leathery.
I set out with the intent of making mezzaluna and tortellini, but after the first handful of each I realized I had rolled out the dough a bit too thin, so I switched it up and turned the rest of the dough into fettuccine.
I saved the greens - I'm thinking of sautéing them with some garlic and onions, and serving with the fettuccine and a light cream sauce. I froze the rest. You guys, I now have five different kinds of fresh, homemade pasta in the freezer. It's kind of insane, and kind of The Dream. Though - it's officially ice cream season now, so I might need to make some room...