When I was in my pre-teen years, I coined the catch phrase "Everything's better in pink". This applied to things such as pink lemonade, pink clothes, and anything and everything else that I could find in pink. What can I say? Pink was my signature color. While my love of pink is still strong, I certainly do not run around dressed head to toe in pink anymore nor do I aim to get everything in pink! In fact I think pre-teen Ursula might be slightly disappointed to learn that her velour pink tracksuit got donated to goodwill many, many, years ago and that my entire apartment is not styled in pink. I just have a pink office chair!
However, I do think that she would be happy to hear that her favorite all pink dinner, Penne with Bright Pink Beet Sauce, is still my favorite, and actually the only all pink dinner I have ever encountered. You might be thinking, pink dinner? What? How do you make dinner all pink? Well the answer is simple, beets! You heard right, this pasta dish gets its vibrant color from beets, a vegetable that doesn't get a ton of use in most dishes.
Although you might be scratching your head a little about a beet based sauce, thinking is this really going to taste good? I can tell you with utmost confidence, that yes this sauce is going to taste good, its going to taste unlike anything you have tasted before but in a good way! In my adolescent years, my mother began cooking this dish for my brother, sister, and I and we loved it. We weren't adventurous eaters yet, so the fact that we loved it really speaks to the tastiness of this dish! The beets give this dish a sweet earthy flavor, while the half and half brings it together into a creamy sauce. So basically, you're looking at a lighter, pinker, and more flavorful Alfredo sauce.
If you are feeling bold, I encourage you to give this dish a try, it will not disappoint and it looks super impressive, while remaining easy to make. Just a forewarning, the beets turn everything pink! When you are peeling and chopping them, expect your hands to turn pink. It washes off, but just letting you know in advance. That being said, if you can sauté onions, boil water, and read this recipe, you can make this dish!
1 1/2 cups beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced small
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup half and half
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1 lb penne pasta (or any type you'd like)
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and set a large pot of water to boil (for pasta)
2. Peel and dice beets, then toss them in 2tbsp of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread them out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil (to prevent them from burning) and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. When the beets are done roasting, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over a medium low heat in a large pan. Add shallots and cook until fragrant. Do not let them brown or burn, just cook them until. you can smell them, about 2 minutes.
4. Add beets to pan and stir well, season with a pinch of salt and pepper! Pour the wine into the pan and stir. Let the wine cook for 5 minutes, this will reduce the wine down and make the mixture look a little like jam!
5. Don't forget about your pasta! Cook it according to the directions on the box!
6. Lower the heat down to low and pour the half and half into the mixture. This is where your sauce will turn into its beautiful vibrant shade. Add basil and let the sauce cook on low for about five minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon.
7. Add pasta to the sauce and stir gently until the pasta is coated with sauce. Even though the sauce is a little on the thin side, you will be surprised with how well it coats the pasta!
8. Sprinkle with extra chopped basil, if you'd like, and enjoy!