Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Lunch for Kelly

Posted December 31, 2009

Orecchiette Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel, & Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook
Serves 4-6

Do yourself a favor and serve this (and every) pasta salad at room temperature.  It needs some warmth for the flavors to bloom.  Also, don’t be afraid of salt here.  Add enough to make the flavors pop.

2 medium golden beets, washed
4 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup whole almonds
2 cups dry orecchiette pasta
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
½ cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
¼ cup chopped fennel fronds
½ cup sliced scallions
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place washed beets in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Gather up the edges of the foil and seal the beets inside a pouch.  Bake on center rack of oven for about 1 hour, or until beets are tender when poked with a fork.  Let cool, then peel the beets and chop to a medium dice.  Set aside.  Leave oven on.

Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  (This can be done while the beets are roasting.)  Let almonds cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water.  Add a pinch of kosher salt and bring to a boil.  Drop in pasta and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until tender.  Drain in a colander, shaking off excess water.  Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking.

Add the diced beets, toasted almonds, radicchio, fennel bulb and fronds, scallions, and parsley.  Drizzle in Lemon Vinaigrette and toss all ingredients together.  Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes approximately 1¼ cups

This dressing makes more than you need for the pasta salad, but it’s also delicious used as a green salad dressing.  Go ahead and make the whole amount and use it over the course of a week.

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
¾ cup olive oil

Combine mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Mix well with a whisk.  Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking as you pour in the oil.  Continue whisking until dressing has emulsified, then cover and store in the refrigerator.

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