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Beet Pesto Pasta

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    Here’s a dish with a serious “wow” factor, as the pasta obtains a striking red courtesy of the beet pesto. The natural sweetness and vibrant hue of beets breathes new life into pesto. You can also add some crumbled goat cheese to the garnish. If possible, try to use freshly made pasta.

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    1 lb (450 g) red beets (about 4 medium), trimmed and scrubbed 
    1/3 cup (80 mL) walnut halves
    1/3 cup (80 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    Juice of 1/2 lemon 
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) red chili flakes 
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
    1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil 
    1 lb (450 g) organic whole grain fettuccini (choose brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta for a wheat-free option)
    2 cups (500 mL) arugula
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper

    Steam or roast beets until very tender. Set aside to cool and then rub off skins. Place in food processor container along with walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, chili flakes, and salt. Blend until beets are pulverized.

    With machine running, pour in oil through feed tube and blend into slightly grainy, thick spread.

    Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooking water and then drain pasta and return to pot. Add beet pesto to pasta and slowly stir in with just enough reserved cooking water so that pasta becomes well coated with pesto.

    Serve pasta garnished with arugula and black pepper.

    Serves 6.

    Each serving contains: 462 calories; 14 g protein; 16 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 65 g total carbohydrates (6 g sugars, 5 g fibre); 162 mg sodium

    source: "The Beet Goes On", alive #375, January 2014

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    Beet Pesto Pasta

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