Saturday, August 4, 2012


Don't throw those beet tops away!  They taste like spinach when cooked, and the small leaves are great, raw, in a salad.  Beet greens and Swiss chard are both cousins of spinach, and can be used in any spinach recipe.  This recipe will serve two big eaters, or four smaller ones.  We get enough for two meals, and the leftovers are even better when they're reheated a couple nights later.

Always buy wild-caught U. S. shrimp, preferably North Carolina for best flavor and quality.  Harris Teeter and B&J's on Route 70 in James City both carry North Carolina shrimp in season.

Also be sure to buy the freshest beets possible, with greens that are not wilted or brown, for the best results.  If beet greens are unavailable, use Swiss chard or spinach.

When you look at the list of ingredients below, you may think it's too much trouble to make this dish.  But remember, it's a complete meal by itself and you don't have any other preparations to consider.  Once you line up your ingredients, this is a snap to make, and the flavors are so balanced, your taste buds will thank you.

Shrimp with Beet Greens (or Swiss Chard or Spinach) and Pasta

2-3/4 tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided use
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 lb. raw wild-caught, preferably North Carolina, shrimp, peeled, deveined, patted dry 
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tsp. dried crushed oregano)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 tsp. crushed dried basil)
1/4 cup drinking-quality dry white wine
3/4 cup canned, diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Black pepper to taste (up to 1/2 tsp.
8 oz. dry thin spaghetti, or other pasta of choice
3 cups chopped fresh beet greens (or Swiss chard or spinach)
1 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. heavy cream, divided use
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fill a large pot with cold water and 2 tsp. Morton kosher salt.  Set on stove but do not heat.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil till very hot. Add shrimp and quickly par-cook on both sides, but don't cook through. Remove shrimp to a dish and keep warm.  

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to pan with onions and mushrooms and saute over medium heat till soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and basil and cook for another minute, stirring as needed. Pour wine over veggies and let it bubble for about 30 seconds while scraping up bits on bottom of pan. Add tomatoes and broth and bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, till mixture reduces.  Taste sauce, adding up to 3/4 tsp. salt and up to 1/2 tsp. pepper as needed.  Cover pan and continue to cook sauce on low heat.

Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook per package directions, until tender.  When pasta is almost done cooking,  stir in the greens, par-cooked shrimp, and 2 Tbsp. cream, cooking just till heated through.  Drain pasta and toss with 1 Tbsp. butter, remaining 1 Tbsp. cream and parsley.

Place pasta  in serving bowls and spoon shrimp sauce over pasta. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of shrimp sauce.   Yield:  Serves two big eaters, or four smaller ones, and leftovers are delicious gently reheated.

1 comment:

  1. Judy, I have never thought to cook with beet greens! Your pasta recipe sounds full of amazing flavors!


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