Pasta with Roasted Beet Sauce

Beet pasta

A while back, I bookmarked this pasta recipe from Apple A Day. I love beets and I love pasta, so I figured it would be pretty good. Last week, I needed a beet for a recipe I was making, and the bunch I bought was huge, I'm taking softball sized beets, so I knew I would get another recipe out of them. Immediately, I remembered Kelsey's beet pasta recipe, so I added it to this week's menu. After roasting the beets for a while, I took them out of the oven to check if they were tender. I managed to splash beet juice onto my dress pants, white shirt, and silk scarf, which forced me to angrily, (yet kind of excitedly!), put my pajamas on at 4:30 in the afternoon! Aside from my clumsy mishap, the rest of this meal was a cinch to put together. It was quick and almost effortless, because the food processor did much of the work! I absolutely loved this pasta dish. It was slightly sweet from the beets, yet a little tangy from the balsamic vinegar. The addition of the chia seeds for crunch and goat cheese for some creaminess was the perfect touch. So, make this pasta if you like beets, just make sure you wear an apron so you don't ruin your work clothes! (PS-anybody have a good tip for getting beet juice out of clothes?!)

6 medium Beets, washed clean and stems removed
4 Garlic Cloves, peels left on
6 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
6 Thyme Sprigs
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Sweet Vermouth (I omitted, just used an additional tbsp balsamic)
3/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Vegetable Stock
1/2 cup Milk, Cream, or Half and Half
1 pound Dried Pasta
Coarse Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Goat Cheese or additional Parmesan, for garnish
2 tablespoons Poppy or Chia Seeds
Mint Leaves, for garnish (optional--I omitted)

Place the beets and garlic cloves on foil, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Seal the beets and garlic in a foil packet and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the beets can be easily pierced with a fork. Peel the beets with a paring knife and cut into pieces. Place the beets in a food processor, along with the juices and oil left inside the packet. Squeeze the garlic out of the peels and add to the food processor. Add thyme, vinegar, vermouth, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and remaining oil. Pulse the mixture until it becomes as smooth as possible. Transfer the beet mixture to a small saucepan. Add the stock and milk/cream and bring to a light simmer. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese and another pinch of salt. Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the rest of the meal. Toast the poppy/chia seeds in a small skillet until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Taste and season, as necessary. Serve the pasta garnished with seeds, additional cheese of your choice (we used goat cheese), and mint, if desired. Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a side.