Friday, August 5, 2011

Harvest on the Table ~ Beet Greens and Pasta

Friends, I have a confession:  I've never used my beet greens for anything.  I am usually amused when I see lowly beet greens mixed in with other lettuces in salads at fancy restaurants.  Really? Beet leaves?  My mom used beet leaves to make a variation of pyrizhky, also known as beetnik buns - pinch off a small piece of bread dough, wrap a beet leaf around it, so that it's a small oblong shape like a cabbage roll, bake, and serve with warm dilled cream and fried onions.  I never liked beetnik buns.  So, each spring I seed my rows of beets and once the plants are a few inches tall, I thin them out.  The beet leaves go in the compost bin.  Yup.

This year I decided to try something different.  What if I let my beets grow a bit more before thinning them out, and then use the thinned ones for the greens?  But what to do with them besides throw them in a salad?

I found a recipe for cooked beet greens at  Scrolling through the reviews, I saw that most people praised it highly, and some offered further suggestions.  One reviewer suggested mixing the cooked greens with pasta, for a sort of warm pasta salad.  Sounded like a plan.

It took me a few bites to figure out what I thought.  I added in an extra 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper, so there is a nice little punch.  Overall, it is very good, but I think it could be "better" - from the perspective of someone who grew up on Ukrainian cooking, anyway.  I think the next time I make this, I will skip the sugar and the vinegar all together.  Beets + dough + bacon + onions is a very basic Ukrainian flavour combination.  Heh.  This could  be Lazy Beetnik Buns.