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Cooking with Beets the Colavita Way

Bietole, also known as rape rosse in Italian, are known as beets or beetroots in English. They belong to the same family as sugar beets, and are rich in fiber and compounds that support both the digestion and liver function. Delicious and nutritious, beets are rich in minerals, including magnesium, iron and calcium, and have been shown to be effective in preventing certain cancers. There are plenty of ways to cook with this root vegetable. Below are some tasty Colavita infused recipes that utilize different varieties of beets.

Beets are used to dye Colavita’s perfectly al dente bucatini for their Beet Pasta with Parsley Pesto & Ricotta recipe. The dish is then topped with fresh parsley pesto and ricotta cheese.

For the multicolored Marinated Beet Stacks, golden and red beets are arranged in layers with goat cheese to create an edible rainbow.

This Beet Tart with Walnut Crust is a sweet and savory treat that combines different varieties of beets with pineapple and tangy goat cheese in a walnut crust.

Those who miss a hearty bowl of flavorful soup can rejoice in Colavita’s Golden Beet and Cauliflower Soup. Roasted golden beets and cauliflower are puréed into a smooth savory dish that is not only delicious, but healthy as well.

Put a tasty spin on those tired fries with this recipe for Beet and Polenta Fries. Golden beets are mixed with Colavita’s Instant Polenta and fried into crispy strips to create the ideal companion for juicy burgers.

Beet Pasta with Parsley Pesto & Ricotta

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Ingredients
For the beets:

  • 3 large purple beets, tops trimmed off and skins peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon seat salt
  • Juice from ½ lemon (Meyer lemon is best)
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the parsley pesto:

  • ½ cup shelled roasted and lightly salted pistachios
  • 1 bunch fresh flat Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup Colavita Olive Oil (more if needed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb dry Colavita Bucatini/perciatelli

For the garnish:

  • Coarsely chopped pistachios
  • Meyer lemon zest
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Preparation
For the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil and sea salt and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add in the ½ cup of pistachios and pulse until well combined. If the mixture seems dry, add more Colavita Olive Oil.

Store the pesto in the fridge (drizzle a little olive oil on top) in a sealed container overnight.

When you are ready to use it, combine 4 tablespoons of the pesto with the ricotta cheese and mix well. Drizzle with olive oil if it seems dry. Store this in the refrigerator until you are ready to garnish the pasta with it.

For the beets: Slice the peeled beets into very thin strips (think Julienne cut). Heat 2 tablespoons of Colavita Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beet strips to the olive oil with the ¼ teaspoon salt and lemon juice. Allow the beets to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling, salt it. Add the bucatini to the salted, boiling water and cook.

Drain the cooked pasta (don’t rinse it!). Add the cooked pasta to the pot with the cooked beets. Mix the pasta well with the beet mixture – it will start to turn a bright pink color. This is what you want. Once the beets and pasta are well incorporated, spoon some into a dish.

Add a few dollops of the parsley pesto combined with the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the dish with more fresh parsley, some chopped pistachios and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Marinated Beet Stacks

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium red beets
  • 4 medium golden beets
  • 1 lb soft goat cheese
  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil

Preparation
Fill two medium pots with water. Cook the red beets and the golden beets separately, so that the red color does not dye the golden beets. Boil the beets until soft, about 30 minutes.

Peel the beets and allow them to cool. Once they are cooled, slice them about ⅛” thick with a sharp knife.

Line one of the loaf pans with plastic wrap leaving some overhang to fold over once the pans has been filled. Start by layering the golden beets along the bottom of the pan follow with a thin layer of goat cheese. Proceed as if you were making a lasagna, seasoning with salt and pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil between layers.

Once you’ve made 2-3 layers of golden beets, proceed to the red ones in the same fashion, layering along with the goat cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. The top most layer should be red beets. Once you have finished, fold the plastic wrap over the top to seal.

Place the second beet pan (once full) on top of the first to weigh it down. Now place a third pan filled with a can of beans or a small weight on top of the second pan. The process is important, as the beets and cheese need to compress so they stay together when sliced.

Place the weighted pans in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but they are best left over night.

When it’s time to serve, unwrap the top portion of the loaf pan and place a cutting board on top of the pan. Invert them both and then pull off the pan. Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and carefully slice the terrine into ½” thick sliced with a very sharp knife. Garnish with sea salt and fresh basil.

Beet Tart with Walnut Crust

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Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 4 large beets, roasted sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup pineapple, cut into rounds
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Fresh mint
  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt

For the crust:

  • 1½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (just pulse some graham crackers in a food processor)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation
First, roast the beets. Remove the leafy stems, reserving them, and slice the beets in half. Wrap each loosely in aluminum foil and place in an oven heated to 400 degrees. Bake until soft when pierced with a knife – about 40 minutes.

Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the skins from the beets, and slice into rounds.

For the Walnut Crust, coarsely chop walnuts and graham crackers in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Add the egg and melted butter to the crumb mixture and pulse to combine. The mixture should start to hold together in clumps.

Place a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan on a baking sheet. Crumble the mixture over the surface of the tart pan and press to form the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until set.

Remove the baked crust from the oven and place a layer of sliced pineapple along the bottom.

Fill the crevices with goat cheese. Layer the round of roasted beets on top of the pineapple and cheese. You can use golden beets for color if you like. Feel free to add more goat cheese or pineapple. Drizzle the top with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and the tart starts to sizzle.

Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

Golden Beet and Cauliflower Soup

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin or Private Selection Fruttato Olive Oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 medium sized golden beets, plus 2 small golden beets
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
Heat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the beets in half and wrap them loosely in tin foil. Place them on the baking sheet along with the florets of cauliflower. Drizzle the cauliflower with Colavita Olive Oil.

Bake in the oven until the beets are soft when pierced with a fork (about 25 minutes) and the cauliflower is soft and turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When the beets are cooled, peel their skins off. Place the 4 large beets and the cauliflower in a blender or food processor with a half cup of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock and puree until smooth. You can freeze this puree to save it for another time, or use it immediately.

Heat 2 tablespoons Colavita Olive Oil in a medium stock pot over medium-low heat. Add the chopped shallots and garlic along with the thyme, fennel seeds and parsley. Simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the shallots are soft.

Add the cauliflower and beet purée, stirring to incorporate all the spices. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the wine, salt, tarragon and freshly ground black pepper.

Simmer about 5 minutes, until the wine starts to thicken and reduce.

Add the rest of the stock and the white balsamic and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and add plenty of freshly ground pepper. Top with croutons.

Beet and Polenta Fries

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Ingredients

  • 3 large golden beets, roasted
  • 1⅓ cup Colavita Instant Polenta
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coarse semolina or bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Colavita Pure Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley

Preparation
Place the peeled and roasted golden beets in a food processor and pulse until pulverized.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.

Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

Add Colavita Instant Polenta and pulverized beets to chicken stock and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is thick. Add the chopped parsley, salt and Parmigiano, and stir so it’s all incorporated.

Pour out the mixture onto the lined baking sheet, and spread it into a thin layer (about ¼” thick) using a spatula. Let the mixture set for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Then, with a sharp knife, cut the polenta mixture into strips about 5 inches long and ½ inch wide.

Pour about 1 cup of semolina flour into a shallow bowl.

In a large stock pot, or deep-bottom skillet, pour enough Colavita Pure Oil so that it comes 2” up the sides of the pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. You can test the readiness of the oil by placing a small amount of the beet-polenta mixture in it.

If it sizzles and bubbles, it’s ready. Dip each strip of the polenta/beet mixture in the semolina, turning so they’re covered on both sides, and set aside.

Fry the prepared strips in batches, placing them gently in the hot oil with a slotted spoon or spatula. Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this will reduce the heat. Try to fry three at a time, for about five minutes, turning once, until golden-brown on both sides.

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle them with some sea salt and fresh parsley.



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