Beet Pesto Pasta 4

Purple and Yellow Beet Pesto PastaMy mom asked me if I wanted to go to a cookbook signing. I said yes. I hadn’t even looked at the author. Food. Writing. I was sold. I always am.

So we showed up. It was an intimate affair. A group of older ladies and their 20 or 30 somethings daughters. It was the kind of event that was appropriately stocked with Prosecco, sparkling water and hugs shared between friends.

Beyond the stunning daffy-down-dillies (my mom’s favorite name for daffodils) and the insanely put together home, the first thing I noticed was a pair of orange-red pants. Those high wasted babies held onto the kind of bum at which one doesn’t mind taking a second gander. Tucked into them was a polka dot shirt and above them were ruby red lips – thick ones that cried for a good crystal glass to stain.
Beet Pesto PastaI remember poking my mom in her ribs and saying, “Check out those pants.”

We ended up spending a good deal of the night checking out those pants. She was the author. She was Heather Christo, mastermind behind Generous Table.

(The pants were from J. Crew. They’re sexy. I will be buying some.)
Beet Pesto Pasta with yellow beetsWhile the evening had many highlights, the tastes from Heather’s book were my favorite. (I went back for thirds. Don’t tell.)

Now that I have read her book from cover to cover and made a few of the recipes, I thought it time to share my current favorite. It’s actually one of the ones she shared that girls-cookbook night. Beet Pesto Pasta. I love it. It’s going to become one of my regulars. Not only because I love beets, which is a good enough reason to love it; but also because I love how easy and adaptable it is. You can swap out the nuts. You can do it with yellow beets. You can do it with a combination for an even more impressive burst of color. You could top it with a few pickled yellow beets. Really, it’s amazing.

Additionally, Heather’s book is now on sale. Today. Get it. Love it. I did. I do.

P.S. To those who are foodie bloggers like me, Heather shot all the pictures in the book herself. (At least, all the ones she wasn’t in.) AND, she shot them with a Nikon D40. Which yes, it is a DSLR. But no, is not a professional grade camera. So, those of us who are striving to create great food photography on a budget, here are a few things I learned from Heather:

DAYLIGHT – daylight, daylight, daylight. Shoot in daylight.
Cookie sheets can make fantastic backgrounds.
White shirts and black shirts can really help with your lighting. 

Beet Pesto Pasta
By Generous Table
Serves 4 – 6

Not only can pistachios be expensive, but not everyone is their biggest fan. You can make this pesto with a different nut that you have on hand to save time and money. Additionally, give this dish a different twist, consider making it with both purple and yellow beets. Heather does not display it this way in her book, but I like how the yellow plays against the purple.

3 large purple beets, tops trimmed
3 cloves garlic
½ up whole raw pistachio nuts, plus 2 TBS chopped for garnish
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
kosher salt
1 pound spaghetti

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add the beets. Boil until tender, 15 – 20 minutes.
Note: If you are making this recipe with purple and yellow beets, bring two pots of water to a boil and cook beets separately.

Drain and rinse the beets with cold water. Using your fingers, rub the skins off the beets.
Note: If you are doing dual colored beets, start with the yellow first. 

Chop the beets into quarters. Place the beets in a food processor. Add garlic, pistachios, lemon juice and olive oil. Pulse until you have a smooth, bright pink spread.
Note: If you are making with dual colored beets, process yellow beets first with half the ingredients. Set aside pesto. Then process purple beets with second half of the ingredients.

Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions and strain thoroughly.

Toss spaghetti with pesto. Garnish with Parmesan and chopped pistachios. Serve immediately.
Note: If making with dual colored beets, divide pasta in half. Toss each half pasta with pesto. Arrange in serving dish, garnish and serve immediately.

Recipe in print-friendly format

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Tickle Me Pickled        The Bachelor’s Lasagna        Bolognese Chicken Parmesan

About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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