Beetroot with bagna cauda sauce
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
Antonio Carluccio came up with the brilliant idea to make a bagna cauda in a milder form and use as a sauce for vegetables and pasta. Roasting beetroot in the oven (or even better, in a wood-fired oven), produces a flavour that is concentrated and sweet, quite different from beetroot boiled in water. However, if you prefer to boil it, it will be just as satisfying to eat.
For the beetroot
|600 g||Beetroot, all of a similar size, leaves reserved|
|4||Gherkins, in vinegar, finely sliced|
|2 Tbsp||Flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped, or use small sprigs|
For the bagna cauda sauce
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Place the beets in a shallow roasting dish and cover with their own leaves. Roast for about an hour and a quarter, until the skins start to wrinkle and will slip off easily, and the beets are soft when a sharp knife is inserted. Peel and slice evenly while still warm. Place in a shallow serving bowl as you go. Add the sliced gherkins.
- Meanwhile, place the garlic cloves and milk in a small heavy-based saucepan over very low heat. Cook gently for 20-30 minutes until the garlic is soft. Keep an eye out as there will only be a small amount of milk left. Remove from the heat.
- Soak the anchovy fillets in a little milk for 10 minutes, then drain. Add anchovy fillets to the garlic and stir until dissolved.
- Using a sieve, strain the garlic, milk and anchovies into a clean small saucepan. Press lightly with a wooden spoon to gather all the flavours in the pan. Heat gently, then whisk in the butter. Take care not to cook the sauce: you just want to heat it so the butter melts. Set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. You will end up with a small amount of sauce, but it is all you need.
- To serve, pour the bagna cauda over the beetroot and gherkins and sprinkle with the parsley. Grind over some black pepper and season with a little salt if needed.
More Christmas dinner sides from Kathy