I believe not too long ago on this blog I said I was a pesto purist. Well, I am a woman of contradictions. I actually loved the pea pesto so much that I decided to try another recipe for an unusual pesto.
I think when pesto variety started to happen, it was mostly about substituting another herb for basil. I just don’t really like parsley sauce and am not interested in spinach sauce either. So I stuck to the traditional kind.
But it is true that nuts (walnuts, almonds or pine nuts), garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese are all very wonderful things, and why shouldn’t they be combined with something other than basil?
Beet pesto really appealed to me because I had no trouble imagining the color it would turn the pasta! The recipe I found called for very little olive oil (another plus) and lemon juice. Well, it was beautiful and very tasty. I highly recommend it– even for company! (The color here doesn’t do it justice. It is absolutely neon pink. I used a variety of small beets I had left in the fridge: Golden, Bull’s Blood and Detroit Red.)
In a food processor, process the following ingredients:
3 large beets that have been cooked and peeled (I roasted mine)
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 garlic cloves (I used 2 large cloves and it was not too garlicky)
1/4 cup lemon juice (also not tart or too lemony)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
While processing, add 1/4 cup olive oil and salt to taste. After you’ve cooked the pasta (we used bow ties, but spaghetti would be really beautiful), add the pesto to the pot and stir to coat. Warm it up just a bit and serve! (We topped it with sauteed zucchini, shallot, garlic, thyme and more toasted almonds.)