Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a Victorian artist* and poet who was fascinated by his pet wombats. While history is yet to determine my fame in comparison to Rossetti, I have no qualms with voicing my own odd obsessions, such as golden beets.
On a recent Sunday dinner I decided it was time to pair the golden beet with pasta. But in what form? I roasted the half dozen small beets, peeled them, and diced them. I cooked down a 28 oz. can of Muir Glen tomatoes, added the beets, and shortly before serving, I tossed in a pound of dandelion greens to wilt. Al dente orecchiette were added, a half cup of the pasta water, and it was time for serving. A little Parmigiano Reggiano and a dash of sea salt for flavor. I had a couple of turkey thighs braising, providing a small and savory meat aside the larger vegetarian dish.
It's an odd sort of pasta dish, but one that won me a lot of licked-clean plates around the table. The dandelion greens were a little difficult to pick out of the dish, but I'd tried some raw and cooked, and can now cross them off my list of Vegetables To Try. It felt weird paying for something that grows wild in my backyard, but then again I've got two dogs with enthusiastic bladders and various strays roam through the yard, so I'll shell out the $2 for clean organic dandelion greens.
For the wine it was time for the screwcap white hanging out in the fridge door: the 2006 Beringer Sauvignon Blanc. $15, 13.9% abv. Lemony yet smooth, light and refreshing with a few grassy elements. This is a pretty decent baseline Sauvignon Blanc if you want an introduction. It's no Sancerre or Bordeaux Blanc, and frankly when I want this grape I crave the citrus explosions from New Zealand. But California Sauvignon Blanc has its place, and this wine performed well with this simple winter dinner.
*I saw his Beata Beatrix at the Art Institute of Chicago back in '95. Still one of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen with my own eyes.