A pasta dish is always a sure-fire success; the key is that the pasta must be cooked al dente, and also correctly seasoned. Sauces such as bolognese, carbonara and pesto are extremely popular, but why not try something new?
The recipe we suggest here combines Italian pasta, a caramelised Modena vinegar sauce, roasted beetroot, and mató, the unsalted fresh cheese traditionally made in Catalonia. The closest equivalent in the rest of Spain would be queso fresco de cabra/vaca, or outside Spain would be ricotta.
Try this delicious recipe that fuses ingredients from different cuisines - tou might be surprised!
It is a simple recipe, but the flavour is very appealing, and you can pair it with a Cava de Guarda Superior Reserva (+ 18 months of aging) to elevate your meal into a great gastronomic experience.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 medium red beetroot, quartered
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
450 g spaghetti
2 tbsp butter
225 g mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup Modena balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp diced fresh chilli
1/2 cup mató cheese/queso fresco/ricotta
Fresh pomegranate seeds, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220°.
On a baking tray, drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and add the sliced beetroot, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the beetroot is tender and lightly toasted.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to caramelise, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the balsamic vinegar, honey and chopped chilli. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the balsamic vinegar is reduced by about 1/3 and sticky to the touch.
Reduce the heat to low and add the pasta and mushrooms. If it seems too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
Place the pasta on a serving dish and pour the sauce over it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta immediately, topped with roasted beetroot, crumbled mató (or other) cheese and pomegranate seeds, if you want to add them.
Anyone who eats this dish, whether at an alfresco dinner or a meal with friends, won’t be able to resist licking their fingers. It is a simple, practical recipe, ideal for matching with a Cava de Guarda Superior Reserva (+ 18 months of ageing). The superb flavours of this pairing means your guests will be clamouring for a second helping – both of the pasta, and the Cava.
Pomegranate seeds: optional; can be used when in season, but can also be replaced with sultanas, pine nuts, or any other dried fruit, nuts or seeds.
Beetroot: you could use squash instead.