Adding puréed roasted red beets to dough is an easy way to bring color to pasta such as this fettuccine topped with lightly broiled prosciutto-wrapped scallops.
Roasted beets have been among our favorite vegetables, perhaps as much for their earthy flavor as for their intense color. Beets naturally underscore the connection between the visual and the gustatory pleasures of dining. In addition to their nutritional qualities (in addition to being packed with nutrients, studies have linked beets to lower blood pressure and increased endurance among distance runners), beet juice has long been used as a natural dye. That’s where they feature in in this recipe.
To make four servings of pasta such as the fettuccine pictured above, only one third cup of puréed beets is needed. The purée is made by simply wrapping an oil covered beet in foil and cooking until soft in a 350 degree F oven. After cooling the roasted beet slightly, purée in a blender or food processor. Scallops, a fillet of white fish such as rockfish, walleye, porgy or snapper prepared a la meunière, sautéed shrimps or clams would all work nicely with this pasta. Add grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts or a few strips of nori cut thin and serve to smiles of surprise and anticipation.
Beet Pasta Dough
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup roasted beet purée
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- water as needed
- Whisk together eggs and beet purée.
- Place semolina flour in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the middle of the semolina flour.
- Pour egg mixture and olive oil in well.
- Use a fork and scramble egg mixture into flour.
- Continue scrambling until dough resembles large curds. Add small amounts of water if needed.
- When all the dough looks like large curds, knead dough several times in order to form a dough ball.
- Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Follow pasta machine manufacturer’s directions to form noodle shape of choice.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Sea Scallops (for two servings)
- 4 large sea scallops
- 4 strips prosciutto
- 4 toothpicks
- salt and Italian-style herbs to taste
- light olive oil
- Position broiling tray just under broiler, brush with olive oil and preheat to high.
- Wrap scallops in prosciutto and secure prosciutto in place with a toothpick.
- Very lightly season scallops with salt and herbs such as fennel, marjoram, paprika or a blend such as Herbes de Provence.
- Broil for about 1 minute. Do not overcook.