Beet Fusilli with Browned Balsamic Butter & Goat Cheese

The flight home from Italy was excruciating. Mainly because I was going home…and home wasn’t Italy. It was 2011 and Simon and I had spent two glorious weeks awestruck at the art and architecture, speaking terrible Italian to the obliging locals, and eating plate after plate of incredible pasta. The pasta my friends! This is one of the two reasons leaving Italy was so hard. The other reason being that it was Italy. If you’ve ever been…you know.

Beet Fusilli balsamic butter

The pasta is quite simply beyond words. The taste, texture, smell—Simon and I spent many meals in near silence, eyes locked, in love—with the life-altering experience that eating handmade Italian pasta is. Light, tender, delicately bathed in fresh ingredients and sauces (never foundering in marinara like is too often the case stateside). I was left with the impression that making Italian pasta is part skill, part magic.

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That brings me to today’s post. Italian level—in terms of quality—pasta is hard to track down in the states. Unless you have an Italian grandmother to turn to of course, which I don’t. I’ve made handmade pasta a few times and it’s far better than the stuff you can find in a store but it’s time consuming to make and I have yet to master it. Enter Pasta Crate! They are a new company that sends you a monthly box of incredible, hand-made, small-batch pastas from the finest makers in the country!

First Pasta Crate Contents-8

This month’s box was from Sfoglini in Brooklyn. I received one pound each of their zucca, whole grain spaccatelli, and beet fusilli. They use traditional Italian methods when it comes to their pasta making, in efforts to bring Italian quality pasta to you. The best part is I didn’t even have to leave home to get it!

How it works is simple. Click here to visit Pasta Crate’s site and become a member. The shipping is free and each month you get to try something new. I can’t wait to see what the next shipment holds! Each box contains about 24-28 servings and there are more than 350 pasta varieties to try. Use the code CRAVINGS10 at checkout to receive 10% off for life! 

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I had my eye on the beet fusilli from the moment I opened the box. The color is a beautiful dusky purple and the flavor was intriguing. If you get stumped on what to make, Pasta Crate includes a pamphlet with a little info on the makers behind the pasta, recipes for each type, and wine paring! I decided I wanted to develop recipe reminiscent of a beet salad, treating the pasta like the Italians do; with respect. I incorporated a few quality ingredients with a delicate sauce.

I made a browned balsamic butter sauce with crispy sage, fresh goat cheese, spicy candied pecans, lemon, and a drizzle of honey to finish. The combination of sweet and savory flavors was ideal for beet fusilli! You’ll want to be sure and invest in some good quality balsamic vinegar and goat’s cheese—with so few ingredients quality is key! This is a perfect lunch or diner recipe, easy to make, and full of balanced flavor. I also love that it can be enjoyed cold; I added some arugula to the refrigerated leftovers for a quick pasta salad!

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Buon Appetito!

This post was sponsored by Pasta Crate. 

Beet Fusilli with Balsamic Brown Butter & Goat Cheese
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 16 oz. Sfoglini Beet Fusilli
  2. 1/8 cup pasta water
  3. 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  4. 3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  5. 20-ish sage leaves
  6. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice + Tsp. lemon zest
  7. 6 oz. goat cheese
  8. ½ cup chopped candied pecans (mine were a sweet and spicy blend from Trader Joe’s)
  9. Honey, for serving, optional
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in salted water (I usually add about 1 Tbsp.) according to package instructions. Reserve 1.8 cup of the pasta water, drain, and set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add in sage leaves and cook until crisp and the butter begins to lightly brown.Keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn't burn.
  4. Turn off the heat and add in balsamic vinegar and water, stirring to combine. Careful, it might splatter.
  5. Add in pasta, tossing to coat evenly with sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Let pasta sit, covered for a few minutes to absorb the sauce.
  7. Top with pecans and dollops of the goat cheese
  8. Serve with a drizzle of honey and a little more balsamic if desired.
  9. Buon Appetito!
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16 Comment

  1. Natalie says: Reply

    Well first off I’m all about carbs. Helloooo heaven! However in an attempt to eat healthier I recently made “pasta” out of zucchini. I’m not going to lie I wasn’t too excited and I was giving my self the whole “it’s so much better for you” pep talk in my head. The end result was magical! I now have it in my head that if I eat enough of the healthier stuff I can once in a while over indulge (as in piled on second servings) guilt free in the not so healthy but absolutely delicious stuff!

  2. Brenda Haines says: Reply

    I wish my favorite and only Italian restaurant didn’t had to leave our small area, for bigger and better business. My favorite pasta memory, is having their grilled shrimp linguini in brown butter sauce for the first time. They had me hooked, and now I’m trying to replicate any of their dishes. I feel like someone left me lol. They even delivered out here 🙁

  3. Jennifer Mangeri says: Reply

    I completely felt your vibe, speaking about leaving Italy. My husband and I were so sad to leave Italy after an amazing 14 day adventure.
    I am not a fan of red sauce so I had the chef make me fresh pasta with a garlic, extra red pepper flakes, and jalapeño infused olive oil. A little salt and pepper and grated parmesan. While my husband loves pasta and meat sauce. Just like gramma used to make. (She was italian) . Drool. I need to go back there and eat!

  4. Diane says: Reply

    My favorite pasta experience that I had quite recently was when I went to visit my sister! It was her, her boyfriend and my brother… And we made this amazing pasta bolognese with garlic, carrots, celery, onions and red wine… We also added ground sirloin and turkey and it came out amazing.. We cooked it for several hours and also made delicious garlic bread…We ended up hanging out, watching tv and playing video games.. I stuffed my face and got to hang out with my favorite people… It was an awesome night…

  5. Favorite pasta experience had to be in Florence, Italy with my family at this really small and cute family-owned restaurant. Late at night, sitting around the table drinking wine watching the chef through a window in the back, kneading the dough and letting it rest and doing it all over again to be sure that every portion was as fresh as possible. Absolutely incredible experience and flavors I’ll never forget

  6. Nisha says: Reply

    It is indeed true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I distinctly remember the day I won my boyfriend over with a big bowl of home made spaghetti and his favorite meatball sauce. It was my first ever kitchen experiment and I was super nervous presenting it to him. Thankfully, he loved them. He couldn’t stop telling me how happy he was that he found a partner who loved cooking his favorites as much as he loved devouring them. That was the day he asked me to be by his side for a lifetime. I gleefully agreed before serving him a second helping. I will never forget the marinara laden smile he wore that day and the love in his eyes.

  7. Cassie Jo says: Reply

    My favorite pasta experience was when I made homemade pasta for the first time. This past Valentine’s day I made fresh Fettuccini with an Alfredo from scratch and grilled shrimp and my boyfriend was amazed! I had so much fun that I made spaghetti the following night!

  8. Manda says: Reply

    My first date with the hubby was pasta. Great fun memory.

  9. Lauren says: Reply

    My favorite pasta dining experience is when I was younger we would go to my grandparents house every Sunday and of course there would be pasta being we are Italian! I have the best memories eating with my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles! Those memories will always have a special place in my heart

  10. Nicole S. says: Reply

    My husband and I made homemade ravioli for several of his coworkers and the process was…hilarious! We have a manual crank pasta maker and to make the long sheets my husband, the ever creative engineer, propped our kitchen table up about 3 feet on a chair to get the pasta to slide down the table easily! Thankfully, the ravioli was amazing. Definitely a memorable experience.

  11. You had me at fusilli. But – ah! Goat cheese (cat heart eyes). Instantly improves any meal. BLT + goat cheese is one of my personal faves. Also chicken + goat cheese pasta from Sisley Italian Kitchen (one of the few reasons for you to come visit me).

  12. Sophia says: Reply

    My favorite pasta memory is making homemade pasta with my girls for the first time. We found an old crank pasta machine at a yard sale so decided to try something new. We made homemade noodles and Bolognese. It was a lot of work but very rewarding and delicious!

  13. YUM YUM YUM!

    This look incredible!!!

  14. Jami says: Reply

    My favorite pasta experience to date (I hope to have many more!!) was also in Italy. I was studying abroad in Florence and one night my best friend and I stumbled upon a small restaurant with no sign out front. I ordered the strangest looking item on the menu, pear ravioli! I was so mind blown at how delicious it was that my friend and I did not speak the entire meal, and ordered seconds! Would give anything to know the recipe but I also am confident I would not be able to do it justice even with the recipe in hand. Pasta crate might help get me a little closer to pasta perfection!

  15. Turner says: Reply

    I tried to make pasta twice and failed miserably. Wrong consistency and flavor ruined both attempts. My grandma is Italian and has raised me on amazing fresh handmade pasta and I need it back in my life!

  16. Kristin G says: Reply

    My favorite pasta experience is making homemade pasta with my grandma. We recently got a pasta maker and it is sooo hard to make pasta. My grandma made it look so easy.

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