Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce AND a Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


Valentine’s Day.  A perfect excuse for magenta food items.

I love beets and I am always surprised when people say they hate them – mostly because beet salads are such a common thing on menus.  That alone suggests they are popular but whenever I am questioning a person who claims to eat everything about whether they eat the most controversial foods (mushrooms, eggplant, seafood, garlic, peas, Brussel sprouts & beets) – I often get a negative response to all of those – including beets.

Anyway – I think they are wonderful and I love their vibrant color.  One note – if you eat these bright red vegetables – your subsequent visits to the restroom could be alarming.  All that pigment in the beets will go right through you and you might look into the toilet bowl & fear you are bleeding to death.  You are not.  Just FYI.

Another thing – beets WILL dye your clothes & hands – so – wear dark clothing or an apron when working with them.   Also – the cavatelli, the sauce & the salad all call for roasted beets.  So – roast a whole bunch at once – and roast some garlic along with them.  And lastly – cook the cavatelli within a few hours of making them.  I let mine sit out too long & I think they suffered for it.


First – the salad.


Beet & Watercress Salad with Edamame


Roasted beets


toasted pecans

goat cheese – crumbled

red onion – shaved VERY thin


1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon

S&P to taste

Blend the last five ingredients for the dressing.

Halve the beets (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.

Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan until fragrant – being careful not to burn them.

When the beets are done, cool them & slice or cube them up & toss with some dressing.

Arrange the ingredients on plates & add more dressing.


Valentine’s Day Roasted Beet Cavatelli with Caramelized Fennel & Beet Sauce


For the cavatelli

2 cups flour

3 TBS olive oil

2 eggs

2 TBS water

1 tsp salt

1 large roasted beet


Halve the beet (tossed in olive oil) & roast at 450 for 45 minutes or until done.


Puree the beet with all the other ingredients – except the flour – until the beet is completely broken up.  At this point – I put the flour & beet puree in my bread machine & let it do the dirty work of kneading the dough.  You could probably pulse the flour into the food processor in increments.  Or – create a flour well on a counter or in a bowl & blend into a dough.  Knead it until it is smooth & pliable.


In sections, roll the dough into snakes & then cut into 3/4 inch chunks & roll into little hot dog shapes.


Check out this woman (at about 2:00) and how she rolls out the cavatelli.

I rolled mine on a gnocchi board.


For the beet & caramelized fennel sauce


1 fennel bulb – shaved or sliced very thin – dilly parts saved for garnish

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1 TBS olive oil

3 shallots – chopped

4 roasted beets (tossed in olive oil and roasted at 450 for 45 minutes or til done)

4 roasted garlic cloves (roasted with the beets but removed from the oven after about 30 min)

1 tomato – quartered

4 oz goat cheese

3 oz cream cheese (or more goat cheese)

Fresh parsley – chopped

Fresh grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

S&P to taste


Roast the beets & garlic.

With a mortar & pestle, grind the rosemary into 1 tsp salt.


Heat 1 TBS olive oil & cook the shallots & fennel for 5-7 minutes – or until browned.  Add the rosemary salt.


In a food processor – blend the roasted beets, roasted garlic, caramelized fennel & shallots, tomato, goat cheese, cream cheese and S&P to taste.  Add water if it is too thick.


Cook the cavatelli in boiling water until they all float to the top.  Drain them & toss with the sauce.  Garnish with more crumbled goat cheese and grated Parmesan & chopped parsley and/or the dilly part of the fennel.

Enjoy!  And have a happy Valentine’s Day!