Red Beet Fusilli with Balsamic, Poppy Seeds and Mint

By • January 14, 2010 20 Comments

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Author Notes: The amazing thing about this recipe (besides its sweet earthy flavor) is the bright intense color of red. Because the pasta starts out as a golden-hued dried durum wheat pasta, the sauce makes the transformation possible.Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)

Food52 Review: This recipe, created by Melissa Clark, originally appeared in Food & Wine almost ten years ago ( It's one of the more unusual pastas we've ever made -- in a very good way. The shredded beets stain the noodles a vibrant magenta, and the balsamic vinegar lifts the flavor from being purely sweet to brightly tangy. Toasted poppyseeds add welcome crunch and a hint of nuttiness. Yes, this recipe starts with a big hunk of butter, but don't let that deter you: we think it would be great in smaller servings as a first course. An important note: make sure to wear an apron while you're grating the beets -- unless you want to end up looking like Dexter. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound raw fresh red beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 pound fusilli or other "ribbon style" pasta
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • fresh mint
  1. In a large heavy saucepan toast the poppy seeds over high heat, stirring, until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add 5 tablespoons butter to the same saucepan and cook over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beets and season with salt and pepper, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat off, cover and let sit at least 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, boil the pasta until just al dente. Drain and transfer the pasta to the pan with the beets, reserving some of the pasta water. Add in a ladle of the hot pasta water and toss the pasta with the remaining 1 tbsp butter and the grated cheese; season the pasta with salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir together with the poppy seeds and remaining balsamic vinegar. Garnish with mint, add more salt and pepper as necessary. Serve with a little more cheese passed at the table.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Pasta|Vegetables|Beets

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