Do you ever get that feeling when you’re eating a pasta dish that you wish you had more pasta? More noodles around the fork and per bite? I do. To me, there’s not much satisfying about biting into a few strands of pasta, no matter how good the sauce. But I would rather spend my calories on more nutrient dense foods like veggies & burgers, and spend my “wasted” (a term I have for my allotted foods that are sort of empty of nutritional value like white bread, etc.) carbs on bread and bagels. I could tend towards overeating these simple carbs and so I exercise some planning in this area. I feel the same way about salads too, in that it drives me crazy to try stabbing a lone leaf or two of arugula or kale . . . I mean, either chop it up fine and give me a spoon or let me eat salad with my hands!
Well, I recently pleasantly surprised myself with making pasta more enjoyable without precluding a carb coma for us when I was daydreaming about what to do with beet stalks while they were cooking. I’d used the beet root, so the leaves and stems were braising separately. I wanted to see if I could get them to fulfill the function of a giant toothsome, savory, thick noodle added to the prepared noodles. It worked! Combining the dressed, slightly chewy, slightly caramelized beet stalks with noodles in a fork twirl produces one satisfying bite!!! Here’s what I did:
I boiled the stalks from 3 beets in water for about 5 minutes and let cool, then drained. I then added the stalks to a shallow pan with about half a cup of homemade bone broth, and as the liquid was evaporating I watched carefully so they didn’t scorch, and added a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, salt & pepper, and at the very end, a spoonful of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, then let all the liquid cook off until I had some stickyness.
I boiled up one package of rice vermicelli, toasted about a 1/4 cup walnuts, and tossed the noodles with a light dressing/sauce made of a spoonful each of soy sauce, sesame oil, bone broth, fish sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. Topped the noodles with the beet stalks & walnuts, and placed the whole production on a bed of steamed/boiled beet greens. It was really good guys, and even better the next day at room temperature for lunch.
And better late than never for Fiesta Friday!