The last few times I bought beets, they were on the distastefully bitter side. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the variety…the tides…the color socks I was wearing…But I waited a few weeks to buy them again. On Sunday there were some gorgeous long purple beets with fresh energetic greens at the farmer’s market. I was ready to gamble again, and these babies didn’t let me down. Don’t throw away your beet greens! They really are yummy!
So, this simple delicious pasta was a last minute throw together at the end of a long, tiring weekend of funerals, family, farmer’s markets and a little fun. The pine nuts offer protein and a distinct earthy quality that the beet greens share as well. Plus the sour capers pair perfectly with the tangy richness of the sour cream.
Recipe for Beet Greens Penne with Sweet Peppers, Capers and Pine Nuts serves 4
1 lb. penne pasta
3 big bunches of beet greens roughly chopped (maybe 8 cups or so, uncooked)
1/4 C. pine nuts
1 medium onion diced
1 medium sweet pepper diced (I used a couple of long thin quirky sweet Italian peppers called Jimmy Nardellos)
2 Tbs. capers
Approx. 1/3 C. sour cream
chopped basil and parmesan for garnish
Put large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Once it’s boiling, liberally salt the water and cook penne according to package instructions.
In a large skillet, toast pine nuts for a few minutes just to bring out the flavor, but be careful not to burn. Put them in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, sautee onions for a few minutes until they start to become translucent and soft. Add in the sweet peppers and sautee until they soften. Carefully add in all of the beet greens, turning them over to wilt without flying onto the stove.
When they have all wilted and started to cook, add capers, toasted pine nuts, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and if it isn’t saucy enough, pour in a little of the pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time.
Top individual servings of pasta with the bright veggies (which will be a little pink from the beet stems), and garnish with basil and parmesan. Enjoy!