Beetroot is closely related to sugar beet and chard, and the ancient Romans were one of the first to cultivate and use them as food. Modern varieties are thought to have originated from Africa and Asia. Nutritionally, beetroot is rich in vitamin C, manganese, potassium, fibre, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Beetroot has been used extensively in the treatment of cancer, and it can help protect against heart disease.
Quick and simple, this colourful and warm salad works equally well as a tasty starter or as a main dish for a light lunch.
300g dried ditalini rigati (small, round pasta shapes)
400g cooked and diced beetroot
400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves chopped garlic
Mixed salad leaves
4 sliced Italian plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and fry over a low heat for 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the beetroot, basil, mustard seeds and pasta; and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve while still warm on a bed of salad leaves, tossed in olive oil, and sliced plum tomatoes.
Serves 4 people
Recipe supplied by Diego Bianchi, Lake Como, Italy
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