Beets with Pistachio Butter

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: about 1 hour

The color combination is striking here and the flavors fantastic. The beets are sweet and earthy, and the pistachio butter adds a rich, nutty roasted flavor.

Both components can be made ahead (up to 4 days for the beets; a week or more for the pistachio butter), and the pistachio butter can be used on just about any roasted or grilled vegetable or tossed with pasta and fresh herbs.

Other vegetables you can use: turnips, rutabagas, carrots, or parsnips.

4 large or 8 medium beets (about 11/2 pounds), trimmed

1/2 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or pistachio oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 cup shelled pistachios

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped pistachios for garnish

Bake the beets in foil (see Beets Baked in Foil). Meanwhile, put half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the pistachios; cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, let cool a bit, and transfer to a food processor. Pure until smooth, adding more oil as necessary; the consistency should be thinner than that of peanut butter, just pourable. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The pistachio butter can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Slip the skins off the beets and cut them into large chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the beets in a serving dish and spoon the pistachio butter over the top; garnish with the chopped pistachios. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Variations

Carrots with Walnut Butter. The caramelized sweetness of roasted carrots works beautifully with walnut butter: Substitute carrots, cut into chunks, for the beets, and walnuts for the pistachios. Toss the carrots in some oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in a 375В°F oven until tender. Proceed with the recipe.

Parsnips with Hazelnut Butter. Peel the hazelnuts, if you have the patience, to reduce bitterness: Substitute parsnips, cut into chunks, for the beets and hazelnuts for the pistachios. Toss the parsnips in some oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in a 375В°F oven until tender. Proceed with the recipe.