I recently thought I'd see what it took to make some truly bright-red pasta out of your standard box of semolina shells. Having some fresh beets on hand, I thought I'd boil them (scrubbed very well) and save the juice to cook my pasta in. Since I'd recently seen Rachael Ray make spaghettini cooked in red wine on Iron Chef, I thought I'd supplement the beet juice with a cup of Cabernet.
Underwhelming pasta boiled in beet juice and red wine
I wasn't really expecting the results to be exactly what I was looking for... which is good because what came out into the bowl was a mass of slightly anemic purple pasta. The wine had given a little flavor to the shells, which is nice, but the color was still off the mark.
Now THAT'S more like it!
The solution? Cut up the freshly boiled beets and toss them with the still-hot pasta. Viola! Bright red pasta! I tossed it with some olive oil to enhance the color with a rich sheen - then added roasted asparagus tips, garlic, salt/pepper and a squeeze of lemon! So pretty, surprisingly easy... and oh so YUM!
I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried cooking pasta in wine or beets (or both!)... or just any unconventional pasta-cooking wisdom!
PS - Yes, I took these pictures on the snow-covered picnic table in the backyard of my building... SO COLD, and yes, I looked insane to my neighbors. Yay!