If you bought beetroot juice, then skip this step. Otherwise, chop the beetroot into small enough pieces to fit your juicer chute and juice it.
Step 2: Prepare the pink pasta dough
Add the flour to your clean working surface, create a well in the center, and then add the beet juice and oil to the center of the well.Make sure not to do this on a surface that stains easily, as beetroot juice can (and will) stain! Alternatively, you can mix the ingredients in a bowl.
Use a fork or small spatula to mix from the center outwards, incorporating the ingredients into a ‘shaggy’ dough.
Use your hands to knead the dough until smooth. This will take around 10 minutes.You could alternatively do this process in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Start on the lowest setting and increase once it reaches shaggy dough. Mix until the dough is smooth ad supple.
If the pink pasta dough is a little too wet (i.e., it sticks to your hand a lot), then add a little more flour (just a teaspoon at a time). Then knead until smooth.It’s okay if it’s slightly 'tacky', though, as the juice will take some time to absorb into the dough properly. However, if it’s still a little sticky after resting (next step), then you’ll need to add a little more flour.
Step 3: Allow the dough to rest
Wrap the pink pasta dough in plastic wrap tightly and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. During this time, the gluten will relax - ready for when you roll and shape the dough. If it isn’t ready, then the dough will spring back into shape.
Step 4: Roll and shape the dough
Once the beet pasta dough is rested, it’s time to divide it into more manageable pieces. I tend to separate mine into four pieces. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the dough ball into rough quarters.Working on one section at a time, cover the remaining pieces with clingfilm to stop them from drying out.
Roll out the pasta dough. You can do this by hand or using a pasta machine. If you want to make pasta shapes like penne or spaghetti noodles, you can even skip the rolling altogether and use a pasta extruder.
To roll by hand:
Dust the surface with semolina or flour and then. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to around 2-3mm. If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, dust the dough’s surface with more semolina/flour.
Once rolled out, sprinkle the beet pasta with a little more semolina/flour and then cut to your desired shape; lasagna sheets, bows, ravioli, or noodles like fettuccine, ribbons, pappardelle, etc.
To hand cut the noodles, loosely roll the pasta dough, trim the ends, and then use a sharp knife to chop the noodles to your desired width. Once cut, toss with a little more flour/semolina, so the noodles don’t stick together.Store any cut pasta under a clean kitchen towel and repeat this step with the remaining dough portions.
To use a pasta machine:
Using one section of the beetroot pasta dough at a time, flatten it just enough to fit the widest setting of your pasta machine - sprinkle generously with semolina/flour.
Feed the beet dough through the machine, fold it like a letter, and re-feed it through the machine a further three times.
Continue to feed the dough through the machine, working your way through the settings one at a time until you reach the desired dough thickness. Make sure to sprinkle the dough with flour/semolina well, to stop it from sticking to the machine.
Once the beet pasta dough is rolled out, you can use your pasta machine attachments (such as beet spaghetti/noodles) or cut the shapes by hand. Then repeat with the remaining dough.
Step 5: Cook the pasta
After you’ve rolled and shaped all the dough, you can either cook the beet pasta immediately or dry it to store for later (read below).To cook the beet pasta, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then carefully add the beetroot pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. This may take slightly less/longer based on how thick the pasta is and for ravioli.If you’re cooking the pasta from frozen or dried, you’ll need to add an extra 1-3 minutes. Once ready, drain and serve with the sauce of your choice! This time, I used homemade pesto. Herby butter and sauces with cheese also work particularly well with beet pasta.
How to Dry and Store Beet Pasta
To dry: to dry the pink noodles, you can form them into nests and dry them either in a dehydrator or at room temperature for several hours (or longer, depending on the humidity and temperature). They are ready when the pasta ‘snaps’ rather than bends. Once dry, you can store it for several months in an airtight container.Fridge: store the pasta in an airtight container, sprinkled with lots of flour to avoid sticking, and use it within two days. The sooner, the better!Freeze: you can freeze the pasta all together or form it into "nests"/individual portions (my preferred choice). Make sure to sprinkle with extra flour. If you form into nests, then allow them to freeze on a tray before storing them in an airtight container for 2-3 months. You can freeze dry pasta for up to 6 months.
The correct liquid to flour ratio: though I’ve advised the exact amount of juice vs. flour that worked for me, this can differ minimally between batches based on temperature, climate, the flour, etc. Keep some extra juice/flour to one side, just in case.
For beet ravioli: feel free to prepare the pasta dough into filled beet ravioli/tortellini. If doing so, you can freeze the pasta for up to one month. Alternatively, use it fresh within a day.
The color of the pasta: the color of the pink pasta can change upon cooking the pasta. I’ve found it holds the color REALLY well. However, it can leech into the water and become lighter or even orange-ish in tone.
Add herbs: for more flavor, feel free to add some dried herbs to the pasta dough. Dried herbs mean you’ll get a speckled effect in the dough without any color leeching.
The strength of the dough: because this pasta is egg-free, the dough isn’t quite as strong as it otherwise would be, so be gentle when handling it.