Herbed Pasta with Walnuts and Beet Greens

We make a quick “pesto” with a combination of herbs we have on hand. To complement the beet green sauce, we use walnuts instead of pine nuts. If we had blue cheese in the fridge, we would have substituted it for the ricotta. Nevertheless, the resulting pasta dish is elegant and pretty—an intriguing pasta shape tinged green from the pesto and pink from the beet greens.

Servings and Times

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Tools and Appliances

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We start cooking by putting a large pot of water on the stove and heating it for the pasta.

In the toaster oven, we put the walnuts on a piece of foil and toast at 350° F for a few minutes. When we start to smell the nuts, we turn off the toaster oven and set the nuts aside to cool just for a couple of minutes.

Into the chopper attachment of our immersion blender, we add the nuts, garlic, the mix of herbs and 3 tablespoons of the oil. We blend and then pour the pesto into a ramekin. It is rather thick, so we add another tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.

When the pasta water comes to a boil, we add some salt and the pasta, cooking until al dente.

Meanwhile, we chop the greens coarsely on our cutting board.

When the pasta is done, we save ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and drain the pasta in a colander.

We place the pot back on medium heat as we add the rest of the oil and the greens. We start wilting it down quickly, turning often with tongs, and add the reserved pasta cooking liquid. Finally, we add a little salt and pepper and turn off the heat.

We combine the pasta and the pesto in a large bowl. We toss to coat using tongs. We top each serving with some of the beet greens (they are not tossed with the pasta otherwise the pasta would be pink!), the oiled breadcrumbs, the two cheeses, and some red pepper flakes.

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