Purple Pesto Penne with Greens

After I made the Purple Pesto – I had to use it for dinner!

So, I pulled out some whole-grain Penne pasta and the saved the beet greens (I had salvaged these perfect leaves while making Purple Pesto.)

I started by washing the beet greens. They look pretty good! Almost like miniature rainbow chard. I love the bright beet-colored veins on the greens. It reminds me of my own vein-laden humanness.

My plan included boiling the greens at the last few minutes of cooking the penne. So, I wanted to remove any large stems that would hinder the greens from wilting nicely.

This one looked okay; the stem is delicate enough that it will wilt in the boiling water.

This guy needed a trim…

I cut a “V” shape at the base of the leaf, just above the stem; this creates a nice separation.

After a few of these stem-removal efforts, I couldn’t help but think about how my discard bowl was starting to inspire large-scale public sculptures.

There… Stems. Greens. Perfect.

A watched pot never boils.

So, waiting for a pot to boil inevitably triggers the Jeopardy theme song to play on repeat in my head. To soothe this condition, I chopped the beet stems into smaller pieces while I waited for the boil. I will use these with some celery in a soup later this week.

In goes the pasta

And after about seven minutes, the pasta started soften up a bit…

And I added the beet greens into the pasta pot.

Three minutes later…

And they were ready to strain! I dumped the contents of the entire pot into the colander, then I dumped the entire contents of the colander back into the pot.

Now for the color! On top of the pasta and greens, I added a cup of the Purple Pesto.

There’s a stirring…



It completely changes the color of pasta. No one would guess whole grain pasta at this point – through the magenta color, there is no way to tell.

I’m a little torn. Purple Pesto is definitely purple, but Purple Pesto Penne is definitely border lining on red. Food, what a strange medium you are.

I added a little olive oil at this point to smooth out the consistency of the pesto for the pasta. (You could mix the oil into the pesto before adding it to the pot, too… Some saved pasta water would also alter the consistency nicely.)

I’m thinking this might be a perfect “girl’s night” dish, but I fed it to my husband anyway…

Some fresh parmesan shavings…

Someone. Quick. Get me a fork!

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  • http://hereinthisplace.com Karen

    This purple pesto sounds delightful, and I couldn’t be more entertained than with the comments, observations, and pictures that go along with these recipes…are all these pure Katrina concoctions?n The only thing that would make it better for me is if you appeared, genie-like in my kitchen and made this work of art to eat.

  • http://artandtable.com Katrina

    Hi Karen – Good to hear from you! Everything inside the post – the comments, observations, pictures- is indeed “pure” Katrina. 🙂 The recipes emerge from lots of reading, eating, art study and general inspiration. If you can figure out one of those star-trek-teleport-thing-a-ma-jigs, I’ll be in your kitchen at a moment’s notice!

  • http://lauranell.com Laura

    Wish you lived closer to me so I could pop in for dinner when you are stirring up something yummy like this!nLove this colorful cooking!nLauranhttp://lauranell.com

    • Katrina

      I know, it’s mutual! Looking forward to the day you two end up in Chicago… you have at least two reasons to come! 😉