Greens are not part of my culinary heritage. Mother didn’t cook greens – kale, chard, and collards were alien to her northern European Jewish background. She occasionally cooked spinach – not fresh but canned or frozen and cooked until vaguely slimy. I have fond memories of mixing slimy spinach with mashed potatoes to make it more palatable.
But I recently bought fresh beets, which were attached to, of all things, beet greens.
Now I have heard that beet greens are a delicacy, although I have never prepared them. Most of the recipes I found seemed to be for salad-y dishes. But it’s getting a trifle cold for salad, and I wanted to use the greens for something heartier. This recipe, from Cooking Light, matched ingredients that I already had in the house (often a significant motivator for cooking a particular dish). I confess that the combination seemed a little odd: greens, raisins, pasta and nuts? But it was surprisingly delicious, And also relatively quick to make.
Pasta with Beet Greens and Raisins
8 ounces uncooked ditalini (small pasta). I used mini farfelle (bow ties)
¼ cup raisins
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed beet greens
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Cracked black pepper (optional)
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
While pasta cooks, place raisins in a small bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain.
While pasta cooks and raisins soak, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add greens and garlic (I also added the almonds here so I didn’t toast them separately); sauté 3 minutes or until greens are tender. Stir in pasta, drained raisins, almonds (unless you have added them before), salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; toss with cooked pasta to combine. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper, if desired. Makes 4 servings at about 9 grams of fat/serving.