This pasta is all about simplicity. Front and center in this recipe are the nutty flavor of the pecorino romano, the bite of the black pepper along with the great chew of the spaghetti. Since there are only a few ingredients, use your favorite pasta and the most flavorful cheese you can get. (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
If you want a pasta dish that is a little off the beaten path and beautiful, this is the one! The pasta turns bright purple from the beets and the white ricotta on top creates a bright contrast. I’m calling this a pesto, but it has a very different flavor profile from your standard basil/garlic/pine nut pesto. The beets and walnuts, along with the sundried tomatoes create an earthy depth of flavor – but don’t leave out the ricotta on top. It really rounds out the dish with a creaminess that pulls it all together.
My mother made the best meat sauce. I am biased, but in this case, I have confirmation from all those who have eaten it and then turn it into their own family staple. The secret ingredient here is cinnamon –not too much that it tastes like breakfast, but just enough that it gives it a special taste. My innovation in this is that I throw all of the veggies into the food processor and grind them up to the size of ground meat. In the end, there are equal parts meat and veggies, which adds great flavor, nutrition and lightens it up. This recipe makes enough for a family dinner and then some more to freeze – which I think you’ll want to have on hand… I like to serve this with my favorite cucumber salad.