Recipe for bucatini with beet pesto, goat cheese, and arugula

Bucatini with beet pesto, goat cheese, and arugula
Bucatini with beet pesto, goat cheese, and arugula(Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe)

Serves 4

The satisfying bite of bucatini, a thick, tubular, spaghetti-like pasta (“buca” in Italian means “hole”), holds up well with this neon-pink pesto. The beets turn sweet and earthy when roasted with garlic and combined with cheese, almonds, and olive oil. The effect is both tasty and cheerful, an antidote for the gray skies and drab colors of the chilly winter landscape.


3medium beets (about 1 pound), trimmed, scrubbed, and quartered
3cloves garlic, unpeeled
Salt and pepper, to taste
cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
½cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
½cup grated Parmesan
2tablespoons water

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Have on hand a pie pan.

2. Spread the beets and garlic on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Pick up the edges of the foil to loosely enclose the beets in a package. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a skewer.


3. Open the foil and set aside until the beets are cool enough to handle. Working over a plate, remove the skins and cut beets into 1-inch chunks. Peel the garlic cloves.

4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. On the pie pan, spread the almonds in one layer. Bake for 8 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.

5. In a blender, combine the beets, garlic, remaining ⅓ cup oil, almonds, and Parmesan. Blend until smooth. Add the water and blend again. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


1pound bucatini
Salt and pepper, to taste
4small handfuls baby arugula
4ounces goat cheese, broken into pieces
2tablespoons olive oil (for garnish)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini, and cook for 9 minutes, or until al dente.

2. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the pot. Stir in the pesto, adding pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to thin the sauce. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


3. In each of four pasta bowls, place a handful of arugula. Top with one-fourth of the pasta, and dot with one-fourth of the cheese. Drizzle each bowl with olive oil. Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at