Roasted Beet Sauce with Penne

Beets really get a bad wrap. I was introduced to them as a child in canned form. The kind you find at buffet salad bars. Not at all a good representation of this vibrant root vegetable. Until a few years ago, I thought beets were gross. Like all foods I dislike, I make it my mission to find a way in which I might enjoy or at least appreciate that which I found distasteful. My beet journey began with beet and lemon filled ravioli and from there to beet and chèvre crostini with honey-orange glaze and beet gnocchi. Beets are truly a lovely vegetable. They can be manipulated in so many ways and offer such beautiful jewel-toned hues to any dish. This roasted beet sauce could be altered in many ways to suite individual taste and could be served with any pasta. I think it would go especially well served chunky atop pork tenderloin.

Give this sauce a try. It makes for a lovely plate.

Beets and Garlic

Roasted Beet Sauce with Penne
8 oz whole pasta, such as penne
5-6 medium beets, washed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 T orange-infused olive oil
¼ c light red wine, such as Beaujolais
1 T herbes de provençe blend (including lavender)
salt, to taste
splash lemon juice
splash cream, optional
freshly shaved Parmesan
Freshly chopped basil, optional

Heat oven to 400°F.

  • Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and set aside.
  • Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and chopped beets and garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork-tender.
    Beets, Garlic with Olive Oil
  • In a blender or food processor, add cooked beets, garlic and Beaujolais. Combine until smooth.
  • In a medium saucepan, add herbes de provence and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice, stir. If desired also a splash of cream for richness. Salt to taste.
    Sauce in Pot
  • Use reserved pasta water to stretch, if needed.
  • Pour sauce over pasta and stir until thoroughly dispersed.
  • Serve hot, topped with shaved parm and chopped basil.

Sriracha White Wine Sauce

Like most people cooking on a budget, I often turn to pasta to create a filling meal which can quickly become repetitive. While I prefer to use a carb curfew (refraining from carbs after 6:00 PM), this doesn’t work well when it comes to satisfying a hungry Mr. Wonderful. With that said, I’m continually making new sauces to liven things up. After deciding I needed to use up some shrimp, I whipped up this sauce and served with linguine and wilted spinach on the side. I also chose to poach the shrimp in the sauce. The mint and sriracha make for a bright sauce that is full of flavor yet light enough for our hot and humid Lowcountry evenings. And who doesn’t love sriracha?
1 c  dry white wine (Francis Coppola Sauvignon Blanc is my preference)
Splash lemon juice
½ c reserved pasta water
Splash cream
1 T sriracha
¼ c finely chopped fresh mint

  1. In a large pan, bring wine to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in a splash of lemon juice simmer for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add ½ c of pasta water.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add a splash of cream (do not use milk instead – it will not be the same), gently whisk.
  5. Add sriracha and stir until even distributed.
  6. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in mint. Serve.

*Pasta water is great for stretching sauces and doesn’t create a watered-down consistency due to the starch from the pasta. Right before you drain pasta, use a measuring cup to scoop out 1 cup of the water. If your sauce seems too thick, just add pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. It’s also great to keep in the refrigerator for when you have leftovers that need reheating.