Beet, Fennel & Ricotta Fusilli

This fall pasta recipe was adapted from a Clean Eating magazine recipe I tried last Fall. As some of you blog followers know fennel is one of my absolute favorite veggies and I’m excited to start using it again in my Fall recipes! Beets are so fresh and in season right now and you can use any kind of beets you like…red or golden, I used red beets in this recipe. This meatless dinner option has creamy ricotta cheese, buttery pine nuts and flavorful roasted beets and fennel – all tossed together with fusilli pasta. Yummy – I can already taste the beginning of Fall!


Beet, Fennel & Ricotta Fusilli
 
Ingredients
  • 4 small beets, trimmed
  • 2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed and cut into ½" wedges
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 3 teaspoons unsalted toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap 2 beets together in one piece of foil, sealing tightly to create a packet. Repeat with remaining 2 beets. Place in baking dish and roast until beets offer minimal resistance when pierced with a sharp paring knife, about 1 to 1½ hours. Carefully unwrap and set aside. When cool enough to handle, slip skin off with your fingers, then rinse and chop into ¾" chunks.
  2. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil. Add fennel, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper; toss to combine. Transfer to oven and roast until tender and golden brown, 20-25 minutes, turning halfway. **Note - you can cook fennel and beets together in the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Before draining pasta, ladle about 1 cup cooking water into a heat proof cup and set aside. Drain pasta and return to pot, off the heat.
  4. To pasta pot, add beets, fennel and nuts; stir to combine. Add ¼ cup of reserved pasta cooking water and stir. Add more water as needed until mixture is very moist but not wet. Divide among serving bowls and top evenly with ricotta, tarragon and remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper. **Note - stir ricotta into the hot fusilli. It will combine with the moisture from the pasta cooking water and coat the noodles in a cheesy sauce.