speck with arugula, bread; ‘spaghetti with rubies’ (beetroot)

I’ve prepared this wonderful dish several times before, and at least once since initiating this food blog, and it never fails to dazzle me, visually as well as tastily. It’s perfect: it cannot be made more complicated, or improved. It’s Michele Scicolone‘s “Spaghetti with Rubies”, and I don’t know of an entrée which better shows off the beauty of the red beet.

There’s another thing going for it: Theater. Each time I make it, even I will forget that it’s going to happen, until it does so once again: It’s an amazing experience to watch the very neutral shade of cooked pasta gradually take on color as the beets are stirred into the mix, and then suddenly it ends up a solid ruby red.

  • eight ounces of beetroot, most of them from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, a few from Alex’s Tomato Farm (the latter in Chelsea’s Down to Earth Market), roasted in a 400º oven for about an hour while wrapped in tin foil, cooled, peeled, then roughly chopped, tossed, and heated inside a large enameled cast iron pot in which 2 cloves of chopped garlic from from Norwich Meadows Farm and part of a dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, crushed, had been warmed in olive oil until fragrant, followed by 8 ounces of Afeltra spaghetti, from Buon Italia, cooked al dente and drained, the whole then warmed, stirring, along with some of the pasta cooking water, until the spaghetti had turned an even deep ruby red

There had been an antipasto.

  • three ounces of La Quercia ’Speck Americano’ from Whole Foods, drizzled with a very small amount of Alce Nero DOP ‘Terra di Bari Bitonto from Eataly, and accompanied by arugula from Stoke’s Farm, the greens seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, and dressed with the same good oil and a squeeze of organic lemon from Whole Foods Market
  • slices from a quarter section of a Balthazar rye boule purchased at Schaller & Weber