Beet tagliatelle with Gorgonzola sauce is, without doubt, an elegant and colorful vegetarian dish that can be enjoyed as a first course. Tagliatelle are one of the staples of Italian cuisine, and this recipe brightens up the traditional ones.
And since I love beets (they are one of my favorite winter vegetables) I decided to add them to my pasta. The results was deliciously impressive! The intense color, due to some pigments – called betalains – gives an inviting look and healthy benefits. Don’t forget that we eat first with our eyes.
Beets are not only beautiful but also a unique source of phytonutrients that have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-cancer (in particular colon cancer), anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties (The Mamma Mia! Diet).
TAGLIATELLE DI BARBABIETOLA CON GORGONZOLA E NOCI (BEET TAGLIATELLE WITH GORGONZOLA AND PECANS)
500 g (18 oz) Italian flour “00” or unbleached all-purpose flour
3 medium egg yolks
2 medium whole eggs
120 ml (½ cup) concentrated beet juice
300 g (11 oz) sweet Gorgonzola cheese, cut in chunks
100 ml (¾ cup) panna da cucina or heavy cream
60 ml (¼ cup) whole milk
100 g (1 cup) Parmesan, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
20 pecan or walnut halves
1. Prepare the dough. Place the flour in a volcano-shaped pile in a large bowl making sure that the “crater” provides a large enough well in the center to receive the eggs and juice. Beat the eggs and beet juice with a fork for 1-2 minutes, then gradually blend the flour into the eggs, starting from the inner wall of the well and continuing until all the flour and the eggs are completely combined. You have to add flour until the dough is no longer sticky (you may have to use extra flour depending on the absorption characteristics of the flour and on the temperature of the room). Knead the dough for about 15 minutes to form a smooth and elastic ball. This procedure helps develop the gluten in the flour, so your pasta will be springy and al dente when it is cooked. Be careful that beet juice stains a lot.
2. Place the dough in a clean cotton dish towel to rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Divide your pasta in 4 equal parts and roll out one part at a time (keeping the rest in the dish towel until ready to work).
3. ROLLING OUT BY MACHINE. A hand-cranked pasta machine is the best to use. Kids especially love this part. Start out using the widest setting. Run the pasta through for about 6-7 times until the dough is smooth. If the sheet tears dust it with flour. Continue to run each sheet through the machine, reducing the thickness a notch at a time, until you reach the desired thickness (notch 4-5 for tagliatelle out of 9, I personally prefer 4, about 1 mm), instead for lasagna you can see your hand through it. Run each sheet of pasta through the tagliatelle setting and hang on the pasta dry rack.
4. Prepare the sauce. In a pan add the cream, milk and Gorgonzola. Melt at medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan and pepper.
5. In a large pan bring to boil plenty of salted water. Add the tagliatelle and cook al dente for 4-5 minutes.
6. Drain the pasta reserving 2 tablespoons to add to the sauce. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add the sauce. Mix and serve decorating with some chopped pecans.
Note: If you do not cook the pasta right away, let it dry on the wooden surface lightly dusted for about 12 hours in a dry place, then wrap and keep for up to 2 days. Cooking time is a little bit longer. – Paola