moonlight gardening & golden beet farfalle

Right after work, Carson and I got into the garden, working with whatever sunlight we had.  Now is the time to plant and we already had starters eager for soil!  I was also nervous about them spending too much time on the kitchen counter with the cats around... and outside wasn't an option because apparently we have a possum friend in the neighborhood...

Sunset came and went and yet we couldn't get out of the garden--we were determined to finish!  We pierced some garden lights into the soil around us and kept working...Carson even managed to set up a possum-deterrent system in the dark!  It started as just netting but then he began thinking bigger... he ended up using some old tent poles we had to create a dome you can walk into.  This will definitely keep out birds and, as long as the possum isn't acrobatic (some are), it will keep him away too...

I snapped this shot the next morning

Afterward, we were dirty, tired, and hungry-- the best kind of hungry to be, if you ask me!  I made this wonderful recipe from Bon Appetit... I will warn that it took longer than anticipated, mainly due to the onion carmelization process.  Well worth the wait though!

Farfalle with Golden Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts 

4-6 servings
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
2 large onions, quartered lengthwise through root end, sliced crosswise (about 4 cups) 
*this seemed like a lot to me and I almost took liberty to decrease the onions- glad I didn't!  I also processed them in a food processor rather than slicing-- highly recommend!!
3 garlic cloves, minced 
2 bunches 2-inch-diameter golden beets with fresh healthy greens; beets peeled, each cut into 8 wedges, greens cut into 1-inch-wide strips 
*I only used about 1.5 bunches because we saved two beets for something else-- and that was plenty!
12 ounces farfalle (bow-tie pasta) 
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
 
Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and onions to same skillet and sauté until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until onions are tender and browned, about 30 minutes longer. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes. 



Meanwhile, cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts and enjoy! (don't forget to add them til your last bite like I did!!).

Processing and then caramelizing the onions was an awesome adaption to this!  The onions then clung to the crevices of the farfalle and created a perfectly minimal sauce base for the rest of the dish, complementing the bitter greens and setting off the sweetness in the golden beets.  The pine nuts added a perfectly crunchy, earthly finish to the whole thing. Bon Appetit!