Farm Crush Saturday + RECIPE: Orecchiette with Beets

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This little farm girl is loving spring. I know, I know. The 5-day forecast in Wisconsin says snow. Snow twice in five days actually. But I don’t care. For now, it’s sunny and warm and I’m in heaven. I’m ignoring any talk of snow.

Warm weekend hikes with my perfect pups. Seeding dates with my wonderful husband. Trips to Beth’s greenhouse. Babying little beautiful seedlings as they grow. Germinating peppers in our pantry. Talking endlessly about the CSA season ahead. Watching the count of CSA members get closer and closer to 50. Arranging schedules with our first ever worker shares!! Handing out the most beautiful brochures I ever did see. No weeds to pull (yet). Life in the springtime is good, good, good.

So it might be obvious, but I’ve got the biggest farm crush on spring! Is that the lamest? Again, I don’t care. I love, love, love it! Talking to a friendly asparagus farmer about a spot in the weekly rotation of her two-acre pick-your-own plot. So many texts to all my favorite farmer friends. E-mails upon e-mails to potential future restaurant buyers. Scheduling events for summer. Dreams of morels. Dreams of maple syrup. Dreams of rhubarb crisp.

dog walking

This fancy little pasta dish is the perfect it’s-almost-spring fix. You can buy up the last storage beets of winter from your local co-op and maybe even this fancy pants Italian orecchiette and voila: quick, elegant weeknight dinner! Or, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, I hear it’s not that hard to make orecchiette from scratch. Yeah, I know. I’m not sure I believe it either…

Oh and by the way, in a few months, you can make this again with the first beets of spring! It sure is a glorious time of year!!

Lots and lots and lots of love & joy,
-Leek

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ORECCHIETTE WITH BEETS
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Takes 1 hour, 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup pistachios
2 pounds golden beets, scrubbed, ends trimmed, halved if large
1 cup ricotta
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
12 ounces orecchiette
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a stockpot 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Add a few pinches of Kosher salt to the pot.
Toast pistachios for 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and chop coarsely.
Add beets to boiling water. Boil for 30 minutes. Drain, but reserve the water for pasta boiling. Allow the beets to cool.
Bring water back up to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions.
While beets cool, whisk together ricotta and one tablespoon of oil until smooth.
Peel beets and slice as thinly as possible. Toss beets with shallot, remaining oil, champagne vinegar and a generous amount of salt and pepper in a large saute pan. Cook mixture over medium high heat until browned and tender throughout, about 20 minutes. Toss with pasta and a couple spoonfuls of pasta water. Allow sauce to reduce for a couple minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve pasta and beets atop ricotta. Sprinkle with toasted pistachios.

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