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Today was Mariquita Farms Mystery Box day, and today’s selection included a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes and basil and little bitty cucumbers and Pimiento de Padron peppers, among other things.  A friend was coming over for dinner, so I decided to put a little something together.  But what?

I wanted to use that basil ASAP.  I don’t buy basil, since it usually comes in huge quantities that languish in my crisper long after I use what I need, and this bunch was too good to go to waste.  And the potatoes — am I really in the mood for potatoes?  Somehow my brains came up with the terrific idea of a cold potato salad with basil pesto called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gnocchi.  Because, like, you know, gnocchi are made with potatoes?  And this is just like gnocchi, only way simpler and, um, not like gnocchi at all?  Well, it’s still really good.  I bet Fabio would endorse it.

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So many beets, so few mouths here at Odd Kitchen!  Time to get creative. This is essentially an alfredo sauce with grated beets. You can make a vegan version, sans cheese, by substituting olive oil and coconut milk for butter and cream.

2 cups grated beet (1 very large beet or 2 medium-sized beets)
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3-4 tablespoons butter
2 cups cream
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of Parmesan and Fontina
3/4 – 1 cup stock
5-6 leaves fresh basil, shredded (or chiffonade cut, if you like it like that)
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium-low flame. Add onion and stir, stir, stir until it’s golden brown or darker — caramelized, if you can get it there, but never burned. Add the garlic and a flourish of salt and pepper.

Pour the cream and basil into the pan.  Add grated beets.  Stir and let simmer for about ten minutes; add stock as the liquid evaporates.  When beets are tender, add the cheese and stir until it’s melted and the sauce is creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta to come…

2-4 servings

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