Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Beet Greens & Cheese

Long slow cooking makes onions fabulously sweet, especially when they are fresh and juicy as they are now. The beet greens add a robust and astringent note, and the cheese rounds out the dish. I used Friulano, as a change from the imported Parmigiano Reggiano to which I am so embarrassingly addicted. I think it was probably made in Quebec, but at least it's a product of the glorious People's Republic of Soviet Canuckistan; so eat up, comrades!

I haven't used Friulano before - it's a typical corporate cheese; I can't actually figure out from either the label or the website where it's made - but it was on sale at Costco. I actually like it quite a lot: it has the fresh aroma and melty qualities of mozzerella, with a stronger cheddar-like zing to it. Edited to add: a little research tells me that Friulano is a specifically Canadian imitation of an Italian cheese; Montasio.

Don't forget to check out Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon a Feast! It's their 6 month anniversary. This post is a landmark for me too; it's my 100th.

2 to 3 servings
25 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Beet Greens and Cheese250 grams (1/2 pound plus) linguine or other pasta
3 large onions
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
the greens from 6 to 8 large beets (probably 2 bunches)*
150 to 200 grams (5 or 6 ounces) cheese, cut in cubes

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil for the linguine.

Peel the onions and cut them in half, lengthwise. Cut them in thin slices. Put them in a large skillet with the olive oil, and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized, stirring often. This is a slow process - they should be cooked just as the pasta is done. If they are done a little early, turn the heat down as low as possible and that should hold them while they wait.

Meanwhile, wash and pick over the beet greens. Chop them coarsely, with their stems, and drain them. Cut the cheese into 1 cm cubes.

When the pasta is just a minute or two from being cooked, add the prepared beet greens to the pan of onions, turning up the heat . Stir in well and cook until just wilted.

Drain the linguine and toss it with the cheese and the beet greens and onions. Grind over a little black pepper.

Next time, I might add a few hot pepper flakes to the onions just before the beet greens.

*Actually, I really don't care how big your beets are. What I am looking for is a large, lush, healthy clump of greens from each beet of whatever size.


Ruth Daniels said...

What a lucious looking dish! Thanks so much for bringing it to the big Presto Pasta Night six month bash and congrats on 100 posts!!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never had beets with pasta, this dish sounds and looks great!

Dayna said...

This looks great - and what creative combo of the onions and beets. It must have tasted just super.

Sophie said...

Looks lovely! Carmelised onions are always worth the effort but I like the idea of adding an extra vegetable in to keep them company