Do you ever get that feeling when you’re eating a pasta dish that you wish you had more pasta? More noodles around the fork and per bite? I do. To me, there’s not much satisfying about biting into a few strands of pasta, no matter how good the sauce. But I would rather spend my calories on more nutrient dense foods like veggies & burgers, and spend my “wasted” (a term I have for my allotted foods that are sort of empty of nutritional value like white bread, etc.) carbs on bread and bagels. I could tend towards overeating these simple carbs and so I exercise some planning in this area. I feel the same way about salads too, in that it drives me crazy to try stabbing a lone leaf or two of arugula or kale . . . I mean, either chop it up fine and give me a spoon or let me eat salad with my hands! That’s another post.
Since M. likes pasta I do try to prepare it once in a while. First choice with him is with a vat of straight up red sauce, enhanced by stirring in tomato paste and then fresh tomato (see this post for more of “Mike style” — I note that these earlier-blog-post iphone photos nearly make me cringe!).
Well, I recently pleasantly surprised myself with making pasta more enjoyable without precluding a carb coma for us when I was daydreaming about what to do with beet stalks while they were cooking. I’d used the beet root, so the leaves and stems were braising separately. (for more ideas on beets, click here and here and here (beetburger) I wanted to see if I could get them to fulfill the function of a giant toothsome, savory, thick noodle added to the prepared noodles. It worked! Combining the dressed, slightly chewy, slightly carmelized beet stalks with noodles in a fork twirl produces one satisfying bite!!! Here’s what I did:
I boiled the stalks from 3 beets in water for about 5 minutes and let cool, then drained. I then added the stalks to a shallow pan with about half a cup of homemade bone broth, and as the liquid was evaporating I watched carefully so they didn’t scorch, and added a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, salt & pepper, and at the very end, a spoonful of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, then let all the liquid cook off until I had some stickyness.
I boiled up one package of rice vermicelli, toasted about a 1/4 cup walnuts, and tossed the noodles with a light dressing/sauce made of a spoonful each of soy sauce, sesame oil, bone broth, fish sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. Topped the noodles with the beet stalks & walnuts, and placed the whole production on a bed of steamed/boiled beet greens. It was really good guys, and even better the next day at room temperature for lunch.
And better late than never for Fiesta Friday!