When I say beetroot tagliatelle, I don’t mean tagliatelle flavored or colored with beetroot, but tagliatelle made of mostly beetroot, without any flour. It is a simple form of modernist cuisine (not capitalized, since I’m not referring to the book). I had eaten tomato tagliatelle at Piazza Duomo, one of Italy’s best restaurants in Alba, and thought I could use agar agar to try something similar with beetroot. I don’t have a juicer so I used beetroot puree rather than beetroot juice. Agar agar is a gelling agent that is made from red algae that has the interesting quality that the gelling process is reversible: just reheat to above 85C/185F and it will become liquid again. Turned out that I was reminded of that the hard way, but more about that later.
I wrapped them in foil and roasted them in the oven at 200C/400F for an hour and let them cool in the oven overnight with the door closed. (If you are in a hurry, you can also roast them longer until they are tender, about 90 minutes.)
I made a layer of the agar agar-beetroot puree in a flat plastic container. Since I was using beetroot puree rather than beetroot juice, it was impossible to make a very smooth layer. I used about a quarter of the beetroot puree for one layer, so I had to repeat these steps four times.
After draining the beetroot tagliatelle, I added them to the pan with the melted butter to coat them with butter, forgetting that the pan was well above 85C/185F, and thus my lovely beetroot tagliatelle started to fall apart. Next time, I will pour on the warm butter, making sure it is not too hot.
We drank a glass of dry red lambrusco with this, which was an outstanding match! Please make sure to use a good quality of ‘secco’ lambrusco rather than the cheap plunk that lambrusco often is. (The good stuff is still not expensive at all.)