I picked out this recipe nearly two weeks ago while flipping through the January issue of Bon Appétit. I was immediately struck by all the winter vegetables, which I saw as a beacon of sane eating as soon as the glut of the holidays were over. Oddly, the genius of this recipe isn't the plentiful vegetables, but the addition of butter at the very end. It creates a wonderful savory edge to this decidedly meat-free meal.
The original recipe from Bon Appétit called for golden beets, something I didn't think was necessary to find. What are wrong with regular beets? Well now I understand. The plain red beets stained the whole dish pink, which wasn't necessarily a problem, but it certainly looked a little strange. If you don't happen to mind the tinge, then don't worry.
This also happens to be one of the first recipes I've seen that's called for the greens of the beet to be used. If your beets come with the greens still attached then go ahead and toss them in. If yours don't then don't fret too much.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups red onion, coarsely chopped red onion
- 2 cups parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups beets, peeled and chopped, plus the greens, coarsely chopped (if available)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 2/3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound ziti or other tubular pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Add the oil to a large skillet over high heat. Dump in the onion, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and beets. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 9 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute.
Pour in 1 cup of the broth and reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper and then cover the skillet and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the ziti according to the directions on the box. Drain and then return the pasta to the now empty pot. Add the butter and half of the cheese. Stir until well coated.
Add the vegetables to the pot with the pasta, along with the chopped beet greens (if available) and the rest of the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with more Parmesan.