BEETROOT, PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE PASTA
Prep time 15 mins Cooking time 3 hours, with rest and drying time Serves 6-8
RED BOW-TIE PASTA
100g beetroot 400g cake flour 3 extra-large eggs 1 tsp salt Olive oil, to drizzle
8 slices beef bacon 4 small pears, skin on, cored and sliced 4 tbsp butter A handful of thyme, leaves picked 100g pecan nuts, chopped 2 tbsp brown sugar A handful of rocket leaves 200g blue cheese, broken
Preheat the oven to 180°C. To make the pasta, place the beetroot in a roasting pan and cover with foil.
Roast for an hour or until tender. Cool, remove the skin, chop and purée in a food processor. Place the flour in a heap on a clean surface. Make a well in the centre, then add 2 eggs, salt and beetroot purée. Gently whisk with a fork, drawing in the flour as you go. Knead on a flour-dusted surface for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 portions.
Flatten one portion slightly and cover the rest. Set the pasta machine on the widest setting and flour the machine and dough well. Knead through the machine 4 times, folding the dough and rolling until a long strip forms. Continue feeding the dough through, setting the machine a notch thinner every time until you reach the last setting. Whisk the last egg in a bowl. Cut the dough into 4cmx7cm rectangles.
Brush a thin line of egg across the middle width of the rectangles and pinch in to form bow ties. Sprinkle with flour and leave to dry for at least 2 hours. Repeat the process to use up the remaining dough. Drizzle with olive oil. To make the sauce, in a pan dry-fry the beef bacon on medium-high heat until crisp. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Let it cool and then crumble. To the pan, add the pears, butter and thyme. Sauté for 3 minutes or until the pear is golden but still crunchy. Remove, add the nuts and sugar to the pan and heat for 2 minutes. Return the pear mixture and cook the pears through.
Cook the pasta in batches in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, until al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drizzle with oil.
Serve with the pear sauce, garnished with rocket leaves, beef bacon and blue cheese.