Roasted Beetroot & Thyme Spaghetti with Walnuts & Sage

Roasted Beetroot & Thyme Spaghetti with Walnuts & Sage

Roasted Beetroot & Thyme Spaghetti with Walnuts & Sage by Ashley Alexander

Serves 4
Recipe supplied for Barilla Australia

500g Barilla Spaghetti
4 cloves fresh garlic
4 tbs fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of chilli flakes
3-4 large fresh beetroot
2 cups water
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey (optional)
50g Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan (optional)
150g chevre goats' cheese (optional)
¾ cup walnuts
1 bunch fresh sage leaves (about 1 cup)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Peel the beetroot, roughly chop and place onto a paper lined baking tray and bake for roughly 30 minutes.
Remove the beetroot from the oven and set aside to cool.
Add the beetroot to a blender or food processor, then add water, garlic, and 2 tbs of the thyme leaves and blend until smooth.
In a large fry pan add 2 tbs olive oil, walnuts, sage leaves and ½ tsp of sea salt flakes, then cook until the walnuts are golden, and the sage is just crispy.
Remove from the pan, place into a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan add the chilli flakes and the remaining 2 tbs thyme leaves and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the pureed beetroot mixture, balsamic vinegar, honey, and finely grated parmesan into the pan and stir for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is warmed through and the garlic has mellowed.
Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions.
Drain the pasta then add to the beetroot mixture and stir well to combine, completely coating the spaghetti
Place onto serving plates, top with the goat's cheese and the walnut and sage mixture and serve immediately.

Tip: For a diary-free version, leave out the parmesan and goat's cheese.

World Pasta Day Top Findings

The survey found that, when it comes to Australian's pasta cooking habits: 
• 31.1% add olive oil to the pasta cooking water
• 61% add salt to the pasta cooking water 
• 72.9% bring water to boil before cooking pasta 
• 46.4% combine pasta and sauce as you serve 
• 18.9% save some of the pasta cooking water and add it to the sauce 
• 5.3% check pasta is cooked by throwing it against the wall
• 29.1% rinse pasta after cooking it 

Five Tips For Cooking Perfect Pasta, Every Time

By Andrea Tranchero, Barilla Australia Executive Chef 

1. SALTY WATER Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil, you need approx. 7 grams of salt per litre of water. This helps to season the pasta as it cooks. Once boiling, add pasta. Top tip: Have patience and wait until the water is boiling with big bubbles, this is what helps the pasta cook correctly. 

2. DON'T WASTE YOUR OLIVE OIL Oil and water don't mix, so adding olive oil to your pasta cooking water is a waste! In fact, adding oil to the cooking water will coat the pasta, making it harder for the sauce and pasta to bind well at the end of the cook. Top tip: Save your olive oil for the end – add a generous amount of oil and grated parmesan cheese to serve. 

3. AL DENTE Cook the pasta according to the pasta instructions (there's no need to throw the pasta against the wall to check if its ready!). Simply following packet instructions should result in a perfectly al dente taste - not crunchy, but firm with a little bite. Top tip: Don't rinse your pasta! This washes away the starch which is what makes your sauce silky and helps it combine with the sauce. 

4. COMBINE IN THE PAN Just prior to being cooked, transfer your pasta to the sauce to finish off the cooking, adding a spoonful of the cooking water. The heat of the pan will help the pasta take on the delicious flavours of the sauce, and the reserved cooking water will help the pasta and sauce combine. Top tip: Make sure to reserve a spoonful of the pasta water once cooked. The salty water not only adds flavour to the dish, but helps the sauce thicken and adds a delicious creamy texture to the pasta. 

5. SERVE IMMEDIATELY Don't let your pasta sit on the kitchen bench. Once cooked, serve and eat immediately while the pasta is hot and glossy