Just give me a beet
And I'll bring the heat
After an hour, it gets real sweet
Fennel's a treat
And blue cheese I'll eat
Sure, call me elite
But this dish is replete
It's one I'll repeat
Next time with penne, I'll call it complete
Maybe it's because they're delicious, or maybe it's because I have too much fun with puns, but I love fresh beets.
This dinner idea started in my head with pasta and roasted fennel. I considered several options before thinking of beets. Taste-wise, beets and fennel were supposed to be a good pair, plus the deep red root would make far better presentation than my previous bland-on-bland ideas.
Beets, fennel, olive oil, lemon juice…I knew the pasta would need one more element, and even though I don't often care for it, blue cheese seemed to be the answer. It has a sharp flavor — sour, even bitter —that I imagined would find harmony with the sweet elements. So I took a gamble and decided to give blue cheese chance.
I did end up liking it. There's a reason the stuff is in so many beet salads. I was very pleased with the combination of flavors. The only problem was the pasta. All I had was spaghetti, but penne, farfalle or another shape that requires a fork stab rather than a twirl would have made it easier to get complete bites of noodle, vegetable and cheese. Otherwise, a very satisfying meal.
Fennel previously: Prosciutto, Cheese, Apple and Fennel Sandwich, Algerian Carrot and Fennel Slaw, Vegetable Soup with Chimichurri
Beets previously: Roasted Beet and Asparagus Salad with Red Wine Bacon Vinaigrette
Pasta with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Blue Cheese
- 2 servings of pasta (I would choose penne or farfalle next time.)
- 1 medium beetroot
- 1 small fennel bulb,
- extra virgin olive oil
- half a small lemon
- salt and pepper
- crumbled blue cheese
Heat oven to 400. Wash beet and cut off most of the stem. Add a 1/4 inch of water to a baking dish or roasting pan. Put beet in and cover with a lid or foil. Set a timer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, wash and slice the fennel, reserving fronds for later. At the 30 minute mark, remove cover and add fennel to roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. After another 30 minutes, or until beet is easily pierced with a fork, remove pan from the oven.
Keep fennel warm. When beet is cool enough, peel and cut into small bites.
Cook pasta in boiling water. Drain and toss with beets, sliced fennel, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crumbled blue cheese and chopped fennel fronds.