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    Recipe for pasta salad with beet vinaigrette and parsley pesto

    Serves 6

    PESTO

    Salt, to taste
    2cups loosely packed curly parsley
    ½teaspoon sugar
    ½cup olive oil
    1bunch scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water. Set a colander inside the bath. Drop the parsley into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the parsley to the ice bath; cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the leaves.

    2. In a blender combine the parsley, sugar, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a spoonful of water. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or sugar, if you like. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the pasta later. Stir in the scallions. Keep the pot of water for the pasta.

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    BEET VINAIGRETTE

    8small red beets (about 1¼ pounds total), peeled and quartered
    Salt, to taste
    2teaspoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped
    2tablespoons red wine vinegar
    4tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste

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    1. In a saucepan, combine the beets and enough cold water to cover them by about three-quarters. Bring to a boil over high heat. Let the water reduce almost completely. Add another 1 cup water and reduce again until there is about ½ cup liquid. (In addition to a vibrant color, you are looking to extract earthy and sweet flavors from the beets.) Sprinkle the mixture with salt.

    2. Remove the mixture from the heat. Strain it into a metal strainer, pushing some solids through the mesh.

    3. In a bowl combine the beet liquid with the strained solids, capers, vinegar, and olive oil. Stir to blend. Taste for seasoning and add more oil or salt if needed. Discard the remaining beets.

    PASTA

    1pound farfalle pasta
    1tablespoon unsalted butter
    ¾cup Parmesan shavings (use a vegetable peeler)

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    1. Return the pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Use a heatproof measuring cup to lift out ½ cup pasta water. Drain the pasta but do not rinse.

    2. Add pasta to the parsley pesto with beet vinaigrette, and butter. Toss to blend. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with the cheese.

    Adapted from “Old-School Comfort Food”