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Can't Beet That! Drunken Spaghetti


  • 2 bottles red wine or 1 large bottle – don’t spend a fortune on this – it should be $10-15 a bottle, tops

  • Salt

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated and finely chopped

  • 1 large shallot, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 1 large red beet

  • Pepper

  • Red Swiss chard, stemmed and roughly chopped

  • A little freshly grated nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon to start, then up to your taste)

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/3 pound ricotta salata cheese, crumbled or grated


Pour the wine into a pasta pot and add enough water to reach the level you would otherwise fill the pot to for pasta. When the liquids reach a boil, salt the water generously and drop in the pasta and cook to al dente. Heads up: you will need about 1 cup of starchy cooking wine-water for later. While the liquids come to a boil, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO, three turns of the pan. Add garlic and shallot to the pan. Drizzle EVOO on your hands to prevent them from being stained by the beet. Peel away the beet skin with a paring knife. Place a box grater in a shallow bowl and grate the beet. Add the grated beet to the shallot and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the beet for 7-8 minutes, then wilt the greens into the pan and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add a cup of cooking wine-water, stir to combine, then melt in butter. Turn off heat, add the drained spaghetti and toss for 1 minute. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of crumbled ricotta salata on top. Tidbit: to stem chard, hold each leaf upside down. Make a loose fist with your other hand and grab the leaf at the base of the stem, placing two fingers on either side of the stem. Pull down in a quick motion and strip the greens away from the stem. Easy!