Linguini with pan-roasted beets, fresh tarragon and caraway

Linguini with roasted beets and fresh tarragon

Now and then I create a recipe that looks as delicious as it tastes. This linguini with roasted beets is indeed incredibly delicious, but I can’t help being totally mesmerized by the way the dish looks once plated.

I’ve made this recipe many times for special dinners or holiday parties and the conversation at the table always comes to a halt the minute I bring out these colorful plates – a rewarding moment for any cook.

The recipe is simple enough, but the flavors are intense. The julienned beets are sautéed at high heat with the caraway seeds. Beets have a lot of moisture in them, so it takes several minutes for the slices to caramelize. But when they do, they acquire a deep, rich, earthy flavor that’s irresistible. To take that up a notch, I add some balsamic vinegar just before adding the pasta and reduce it until it glazes the beets.

The last touch is the fresh tarragon that’s tossed with the pasta. It picks up on the flavor of the caraway seeds and brightens the dish with its exquisite, fresh aromas. Wishing you and yours a very happy and delicious holiday season!

Bonny Doon Vineyard, Le Cigare Volant 2003 and 2006


Food & wine pairing: Le Cigare Volant with beet linguini

Red wine iconOf course, such a striking dish demands to be served with an equally gorgeous wine. I originally paired this colorful linguini with two exceptional wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard: Le Cigare Volant 2003 and 2006. (To read about the wines, and for the tasting notes, click here.) But there are other great options: A Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Rhône in southern France would be exquisite here as well. You could also serve a Grenache or a Syrah.


Red beet


Linguini with pan-roasted beets, fresh tarragon and caraway

serves 4
active time: 45 min

  1. 6 medium red beets – baked
  2. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
  5. 1 lb (455 g) linguini
  6. 4 large garlic cloves – skinned and minced
  7. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  8. 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  9. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  10. 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  11. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. tarragon sprigs as garnish
  2. extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

  1. Step 1: Peel the beets with the back of a knife. Using a mandoline, cut the beets in 1/16” julienne slices. (If you don’t have a mandoline, slice the beets crosswise in 1/8” slices and then cut them in julienned strips.) Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook’s note: The beets can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  3. Step 2: Heat a large non-stick heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the oil, caraway seeds and beets. Sauté for 10 to 12 minutes until the beets have caramelized, tossing from time to time (the beet slices will lose their moisture, shrink by half and look very dark around the edges). Remove from heat and set skillet aside.
  4. Step 3: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well.
  5. Step 4: While the pasta is draining, return skillet to the stove and heat over high heat. When the beets begin to sizzle, add the garlic and vinegar. Sauté for 1 minute only, until the vinegar has completely evaporated and glazed the beet slices. Add the pasta, reserved pasta cooking water, fresh tarragon, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. (It’s while tossing the pasta with the beets that the pasta acquires its gorgeous red color. You’ll marvel at how fast it happens and how intense the color is!) Spoon pasta in bowls. Garnish with tarragon sprig, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.


Linguini with roasted beets and fresh tarragon

pasta, beet, linguini, red pasta

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66 Comments

  • Reply jay December 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know you could do that. It looks so cool and delicious! Does the pasta itself pick up the beet flavor, or mostly the deep color? It looks really great!

    • Reply Viviane December 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Jay! You are so sweet…. Do you know how your hands get all red when you work with beets? That’s exactly what happens to the pasta. As you stir the roasted beets and the pasta together, the pasta turns beet-red!

  • Reply El December 19, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I had no idea you could change the color of pasta with water. It’s amazing. This is incredible and I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply Viviane December 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      Dear El! It is not the water that changed the color of the pasta, but the beets… I can’t wait for you to try it either!

  • Reply G December 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    This dish looks fantastic! Another one of your creations to add to my “to do” list. I’m making the parmesan fennel twists this week!

  • Reply Adora's Box December 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Love the color!. And the flavours, too. Simply great!

  • Reply Demetra Lambros December 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Vivianne!!! Just today I was deciding it had just been way too long since I’d poked around on the web in the food world and was especially missing you. Then, This Post. Vivianne, you’ve done it again! I happened to have bought of large bunch of beets today as I was planning beet tzatziki for a holiday dinner. Now I know what I’ll do with the other half of the beets! This is truly a result of the brilliant and creative juices flowing through you, bringing together, yes, food and style. Thank you, thank you thank you!!

    • Reply Viviane December 20, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Demetra! Your enthusiasm is contagious. You make me feel so good. I thank you! I do let my creative juices flow… but mostly I just honor the essence of the veggies and fruits mother earth bestows upon us. It feels quite simpler to me. I wish you and yours a very happy and delicious holiday – I know that if you are cooking it will be so!

  • Reply kim December 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Just beautiful!

  • Reply Nicole December 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Stunning! I thought for sure this was going to be homemade pasta made with beets, turns out it is a super easy recipe. Thanks for sharing I can hardly wait until our beets come back in season next August! This will be on the top of my list for sure.

  • Reply Alessandra December 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    What a colour and styling: Fantastic!

  • Reply Food o' del Mundo December 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    GORGEOUS!
    I can’t wait to try this. Your pasta is so pretty twirled into a pyramid. I also have a squeeze bottle in the fridge with reduced balsamic vinegar at the ready. I learned that trick from our FoodBuzz friend Rouxbe.
    ~ Mary

    • Reply Viviane December 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Mary! Thank you so much… I love your idea of having reduced balsamic in the fridge – brilliant! For this beet pasta though, you want to reduce regular balsamic with the beets, so that it glazes them.

  • Reply jean December 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    This dish is stunning! I can’t stop looking at it.

  • Reply heather December 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Looks and sounds fantastic. Just sent a link to my fiancee for us to make soon!

    Cheers,

    *heather*

  • Reply Simone December 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    This is such a stunning dish I just had to come and take a closer look after having seen it on foodgawker. Just beautiful!

    • Reply Viviane December 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      Heather, Simone! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your wonderful words – truly warmed my heart… Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • Reply Stella December 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I just saw this on FoodGawker. It is, indeed, very beautiful. I bet it’s great too…

  • Reply veggietestkitchen December 20, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    This looks excellent. I always feel weird about cooking beet in hot dishes because of the bleeding color. I have been looking for a good recipe to try it out though. This one looks great. I’ve never had carraway seeds before.

  • Reply Loren December 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

    YUM. We’ll give this a try after the holidays. We’re big beet fans and always looking for something new to do with them. This looks fantastic.
    ~Loren

  • Reply Trish December 21, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Sounds fabulous. What a beautiful color! I love how you caramelized them and added balsamic. yum! Will have to try that. Happy Holidays!

  • Reply wasabi prime December 21, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Outstanding color and I love using veggies as a pasta! This would be great any time of the year, but right now it’s so perfectly festive!!

  • Reply Kasey December 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    When I first saw this photo, I had no idea that the pasta wasn’t actually made of beets –they sure do color things well! In any case, this looks so festive and I can imagine – delicious.

  • Reply TiffKey December 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    This is stunning! I am a big fan of roasted beets … it’s actually the only way I like them prepared! This is a great use for them … as I usually incorporate them into a salad. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply branny December 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Wow. I am definitely going to try this.

  • Reply Monet December 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t you just love dishes that taste as good as they look? This is a stunning dish, and I’m sure the flavor is out-of-this-world. I would love a plate right now. Thank you so much for sharing with me and your kind words on my blog. Happy Holidays!

  • Reply Sanura December 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    What a beautiful photo! The beet color is vibrant. I’m sure the pasta had a natural sweet taste, too.

  • Reply Orly December 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Dear Viviane,

    You are truly an artiste de gustacacion!!! There is nothing more tasty than carmelized beets, a tangy vinegar reduction, with caraway seeds, mixed with linguine (my favorite), and topped with tarragon. That has so many flavors, but all that complement and not over power one another. I will definitely be trying this. Beets are my husband’s favorite.

  • Reply Tokyo Terrace December 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    This is just gorgeous! I love the vibrant red color and the idea of the intense flavor is making my mouth water. Thanks for sharing this stunning dish with all of us! Can’t wait to give it a try. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply kamran siddiqi December 26, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Viviane, this is simply gorgeous! That beautiful ruby red color is simply wonderful! I am bookmarking this for this weekend- look absolutely yummalicious! :)

  • Reply Angie's Recipes December 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    What a terrific pasta dish! The beet does give the pasta some really great vibrant colour.
    Happy New Year!
    Angie

  • Reply Amy December 30, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Beets are wonderful with pasta! Your recipe sounds amazing! I love the addition of the caraway and tarragon!

  • Reply Chef's Resources January 2, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Very beautiful dish indeed! I love the earthy richness of beets and could eat pasta every day. The two combined this way is awesome.

  • Reply Kulsum at JourneyKitchen January 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I really like caraway but havent used it in sometime now, this sure looks like the recipe to get back.

    P.S. new to your blog and glad i found it!

  • Reply Rita January 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hi! I found your blog through Cook At Home Magazine! It’s amazing and I just wanted to pay you my compliments!! Pictures are superb! They just make me drool! Fantastic job, Viviane!!

  • Reply Jenny Nguyen January 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This is one of the most amazing pasta dishes I have seen! Beautiful photography! I once had a beetroot risotto which was amazing too… something about deep red colouring in food…I guess it’s why I’m so attracted with red velvet cupcakes with beetroot reduction… yummm…great post :)

  • Reply Amelia from Z Tasty Life January 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

    what a dramatic presentation! and I am sure flavorful too.

  • Reply Debi (Table Talk) January 18, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Like a party on the plate; so bright an playful. I love it!

  • Reply Rachel W. February 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

    This looks so amazing and so romantic!!! I really want to try this but my significant other is not a huge beet fan. Is the flavor strong or mild?

  • Reply Chris K February 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I made this last night and will make it again. What I like about it is that it wouldn’t be out of place at a really high-end restaurant but is relatively easy to make so it would be a great dinner party dish. Could be either a main course or I was thinking first course followed by a simply grilled fish or meat. Following the recipe ad verbatim did take a lot of time though (if not busy time). I would recommend getting the water boiling while the beets are finishing roasting and cooking the pasta while carmelizing the beets

    • Reply Viviane February 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Chris! Thank you so much for your comment. I am thrilled you enjoyed making this pasta… The experience cook can surely sauté the beets while the pasta is boiling. You might also try baking the beets the night before – that saves a good bit of time. Thank you again!

  • Reply Nicole C July 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hi there! I just wanted to drop by and say thanks for this recipe. I am writing a blog about eating seasonally, locally, and ethically and when we got a tidal wave of beets from our CSA we quickly ran out of ideas for them. My husband found your blog and this recipe and we absolutely loved the results. My homemade linguini was wider and thinner than yours was, so we got more of a variegated color than the gorgeous red you got, but it was so, so tasty. I linked to the recipe here from my post on it, but I wanted to let you know that you saved us from another roasted beet salad. :) Thanks!

    • Reply Viviane July 8, 2011 at 7:26 am

      Nicole! Thank you so much for your comment. I am so delighted that you enjoyed the recipe. I bet it was fantastic with your homemade linguini! I just read your post and I’m very grateful to you for the lovely mention. Your pink pasta looks beautiful to boot… I think it didn’t become deep red because of the beet to pasta ratio… If you try it again, add more beets to the recipe and you’ll see that you’ll get that gorgeous color too. Happy cooking!

  • Reply Boulder Locavore December 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Oh Viviane…..I so struggle with beets! I have a completely tormented relationship with them. But then I come upon a completely alluring photo of a dish like yours in your newsletter and my mouth begins to water instantly. This color is beyond fantastic (I’ve always maintained I’d glady wear beets for their color; if only my taste buds were as enthusiastic about hosting them in my mouth). I think I must try again if for nothing else to gaze longingly at my plate. This was, as were all your other pasta ideas, perfection…..but then again what would we expect from you? Nothing less. Happy early New Year! So glad we connected in 2011. (P.S. I used to live in Santa Cruz CA right near Bonny Doon vineyard; this wine is an all time favorite from farther back than I care to admit just now!) Toni

    • Reply Viviane December 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Dear Toni! Thank you so much for your wonderful note and kind words – you’ve made me turn as red as this pasta! I am sorry that beets haven’t yet managed to seduce your taste buds… I wish I could change that somehow… And I’m so glad you know Bonny Doon Vineyard – a very special winery and extraordinary winemaker. You must miss Santa Cruz!

      Toni, it was a delight connecting with you in 2011. I’ll look forward to more wonderful exchanges in the next year and wish you and yours a sensational and delicious New year!

  • Reply Suzi January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    This is incredibly beautiful I am definitely going to try this. I just had my first experience with cooking beets, I made a beets sauce. It didn’t occur to me at the time that the beet juice would color up the kitchen. That pasta is just stunning.

  • Reply DLG February 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Thank you for this recipe. I had the roasted beets julienned and in the refrigerator already so it was very quick to put together. With a green salad it was a fabulous dinner that even my 17 year old son though was awesome.

  • Reply DT June 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Wow Viviane! Thank you so much for your recipes.

  • Reply parrick October 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Love this we make it a lot, so easy! Try topping with some sour cream.

    • Reply Viviane October 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Dear Parrick, I’m delighted to hear you love this recipe… You certainly added a sinfully delicious touch to it. Now I’m thinking crème fraîche might be superb too! Happy cooking… and eating!

  • Reply Roy February 11, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I know this recipe has been up here for a while, but I just found it. It looks incredible and I’m gonna try it this Feb. 14th. Viviane would you mind giving me a couple of ideas of side dishes that go well with this pasta?
    Thank you very much!

    • Reply Viviane February 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Roy, Please forgive me for this late reply, but I am traveling right now and access to the internet has been spotty. I never serve side dishes with this pasta because it’s a meal on its own… but perhaps you mean a menu? If that’s the case then I would serve a seasonal salad, appetizer or soup before the pasta (let me know if you want suggestions) and then, of course, a luscious dessert like this one: http://bit.ly/VRuq8w Have a beautiful and delicious Valentine’s Day!

      • Reply Roy February 13, 2014 at 11:45 pm

        Thank you so very much for your reply! I’ve been enjoying you website. Yes, that’s what I meant: a menu, thanks for understanding me. I’m going to try that dessert that look wonderful. I looked through your website trying to find appetizers and was thinking of the ‘Wild mushroom confit with garlic and fresh herbs’, but if you have a better idea that I could put together quickly tomorrow I’m all open hears. Thank you so much again.

        • Reply Viviane February 14, 2014 at 12:56 am

          Roy, you are so wonderful! I hope your Valentine appreciates and receives all your efforts with an open heart. Since you love mushrooms, I would suggest this salad as a starter: http://foodandstyle.com/2012/11/06/baby-arugula-salad-with-warm-shiitake-mushrooms-pears-parmesan-shavings-and-white-truffle-oil/ It’s a gourmet salad that’s also quick to prepare and seasonal to boot! Although I adore the mushroom confit, it’s better suited as an hors d’oeuvre or as part of a multi-course menu. With this salad, the pasta with roasted beets and the chocolate mousse, you have a really delicious and gourmet 3-course menu to serve tomorrow! Here’s wishing you and your beloved a most beautiful Valentine’s Day!

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