Beetroot Pasta, the colour of ‘M’ in CMYK
I LOVE the colour of this pasta. The deep magenta hue is mesmerising and in a way unbelievable that it’s edible. It’s the colour that represents the “M” in CMYK and in that sense seems completely inedible or only something that would be edible in the future – when we’re all living in a computer-generated world where food has to be one of the colours represented in CMYK (otherwise it would not be recognised).
At the same time, I cannot help but think of Alfred Hitchcock when I eat this pasta. I remember reading a fabulous story about him and his “blue” parties – a colour that is also represented in CMYK in the form of the “C” for Cyan. At these parties he would only serve blue food, from the Martinis to the mash potatoes, and I have ever since wanted to do the same – it’s crazy, yet brilliant! However, it ‘s also believed that his guest got sick afterwords – many believing that the idea of eating blue food has a physiological effect that is hard to stomach ( excuse the pun, hehehehehe…). So perhaps I should rather throw a Magenta party and serve everything inspired by beetroots from the Martinis to the pasta.
I also love this pasta because it is so vibrant and, when served on a matte black plate, looks super modern – making a wonderful statement at the table. Remember to avoid overcooking it, the more you cook it the quicker it loses its colour and goes stogy. If you cook it immediately from fresh, it can take less than 2 minutes to cook. For best results, leave it to dry overnight and then it will retain more of its colour and take about 3–5 minutes to cook. I like to serve it with a blue cheese sauce sprinkled with, roasted, chopped walnuts and crispy bacon or pancetta.
Oh and look at my fabulous pasta-cutter-thing! It’s called a “Chitarra” (yes, like a guitar – hence the appearance). Although its origins are North-Eastern Italian, I bought in Sicily and I just love it. I love any unique cooking utensil and this one will make for a great conversion piece –especially when I throw my Magenta party!
Beetroot Pasta Dough
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup beetroot puree (about 2 medium)sized beets, roasted and pureed)
4 cups flour (preferably ’00’)
extra flour for dusting.
Place the eggs, salt, olive oil and pureed beetroot into a food processor and blend till combined.
Add the flour and blend until the mix comes together forming a ball (the bowl of your food processor should become quite clean as all the ingredients become a ball).
Turn the dough onto a flour surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and silky.
Alternatively, place the flour onto a working surface and make a well in the middle.
Add the eggs, salt, olive oil and beet puree. Using a fork, beat together the eggs to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Do not worry that this initial phase looks messy. The dough will come together when 1/2 of the flour is incorporated.
Once all the ingredients are incorporated and a ball of dough is formed, knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and silky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll the dough into thin sheets, either using a rolling pin or a pasta machine and cut into strips (again using a pasta machine or a knife).