Red Beet Fusilli with Balsamic, Poppy Seeds and Mint

January 14, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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)

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe, created by Melissa Clark, originally appeared in Food & Wine almost ten years ago (http://www.foodandwine...). 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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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.
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20 Reviews

Hilary G. August 9, 2013
Made this sans pasta to try out the flavor combo and to investigate making it without butter (for my vegan friends). On my serving I still added cheese and it made things totally click!
janki March 4, 2013
made this last night and it was delicious! used chives and mint (based on the original recipe) and cooked the beets a bit instead of keeping them crunchy. loved it.
Tomina March 22, 2012
I made this last night with some changes based on what I had in my cupboard. I used toasted walnuts instead of poppy seeds and tarragon instead of mint.
Lizthechef July 30, 2011
holy cow - late to the party...Thumbs up. best, Liz
AnnP June 5, 2011
Delicious, beautiful and amazing quick! Thanks for sharing.
andi_novak February 21, 2011
It's delicious! But I'm wondering whether the poppy seeds are supposed to be squished before or not...
daleydish January 14, 2011
Made this a couple nights ago. Loved the color, but didn't like that the beets were raw, since they stayed slightly crunchy. I expected them to soften and pickle a little as they sat in the balsamic vinegar and butter, but they didn't. Might try this again with roasted beets.
NakedBeet March 9, 2010
This looks incredible. I'm going to sacrifice my poppy seeds reserved for hamantaschen and try this.
stgermainbue March 8, 2010
I just made this for my family. It was wonderful... the mint was even better than I expected. However, I was not brave enough to pour all 4 TBSP of poppy seeds in. I was afraid it would overpower the dish. I probably put in 1.5 to 2 TBSP. Does anyone here put it all in?
monkeymom February 1, 2010
In college, one of my favorite meals was a similar beet pasta dish with chicken, garlic, and lots of parmesan cheese. My husband hates beets, so I haven't made it in a long time. I'm now looking forward to a night when we works late and I can indulge in my beet cravings with the addition of poppy seeds and the balsamic.
eatboutique January 28, 2010
My favorite colors in a delicious recipe. Thanks!
pedra January 28, 2010
This pasta looks lovely! Melissa Clark has a very similar recipe on the Food and Wine website. Was it the inspiration for this recipe?
aletta January 28, 2010
I hate red beet. But my dad grows it in his garden. So I practically can’t avoid it. I have tried al kinds of recipes to make it interesting and tasty. For me, this is one to try out. Thanks!!
pieinthesky January 27, 2010
This sounds interesting, I love beets and I love pasta. What a great idea, can't wait to try it.
Rivka January 27, 2010
It's so...RED! Really beautiful. Congrats on the win!
lastnightsdinner January 27, 2010
This is GORGEOUS. Congrats on your wildcard win!
aargersi January 27, 2010
I would not have thought to combine these either but now I WILL - such a beautiful dish, too ...
Oui, C. January 27, 2010
HA....I told you that this was a sure fire "wildcard" winner, congratulations, Greg!
dymnyno January 27, 2010
Beets and pasta...two of my favorite foods. I would never in a million years have thought of the combination,
but it sounds really good! I am on my way to get the ingredients to try tonight. CONGRATULATIONS!
AntoniaJames January 27, 2010
This looks fabulous! The combination of mint and balsamic vinegar with the beets is making my mouth water. I can't wait to try this one.