Italian chefs like to cook their pasta in vegetable extracts, an ingenious riff on the centuries-old technique of boiling pasta in wine. At Vun in Milan, Andrea Aprea uses red cabbage juice to give spaghettoni a glorious purple hue. Chef Niko Romito of Abruzzo’s Ristorante Reale juices flame-charred leeks for cooking spaghettini that he tosses with pancetta and parmesan. Almost any vegetable juice—beet, carrot, even zucchini—will saturate pasta with color and infuse it with sweet-savory flavor.
- 1 1⁄2 cups fresh vegetable juice (stop by your local juice bar if you don’t have a juicer at home)
- Boil 1 cup of the juice in a large skillet.
- In the meantime, cook plain dry pasta in boiling water for 2 minutes. Strain the pasta, and transfer it to the skillet with boiling juice to finish cooking.
- Add more juice, a little at a time, until the pasta is al dente.