Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta

4 tbsp olive oil
4 medium red beets (quartered)
1 tbsp fresh thyme (chopped)
Salt and pepper
0.45 kg long cut pasta (such as spaghetti)
2 tbsp butter
240 mL cremini mushrooms (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (crushed)
1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
Pomegranate arils for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220 oC. On a baking sheet, toss together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the beets, thyme, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the beets are tender and lightly charred.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.

Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to caramelize on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the skillet and place on a plate. To the same skillet, add the balsamic vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the balsamic reduces by about 1/3 and is sticky to touch.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and mushrooms. Toss to coat, if the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the pasta immediately, topped with roasted beets, goat cheese, and pomegranate arils
(if using)and Survivor Wild Ferment Chardonnay.

Serves: 6

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Pairs well with Survivor Wild Ferment Chardonnay.