Diary of a Foodie

Pasta with Beet Greens

Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: Farm to Fork

  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:35 min
January 2009
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  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium red onions (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 lb beet greens with stems (from about 2 bunches beets), stems cut into 1-inch pieces and leaves cut crosswise into 3-inch-wide pieces, divided
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 3/4 lb penne
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup pitted brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  • Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until golden. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add beet stems, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften, about 12 minutes.
  • Cook penne in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add raisins, then beet leaves to onion mixture in handfuls, turning each handful with tongs until beet leaves are wilted before adding next batch. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add olives, then add pasta and cook, tossing and moistening with some of the cooking water as necessary, just until liquid has thickened slightly. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.
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