To avoid ruby-red hands, peel beets under running water. Prepare and chill the salad a day or two ahead to allow the flavors to meld. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, and prepare cheese mixture and chop basil right before serving.
Cooking Light JUNE 2004
Leave root and 1 inch of stems on beets; scrub with a brush. Pierce each beet 2 times with a sharp knife. Place beets in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, and seal halfway. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until tender, rotating bag every 5 minutes. Remove bag from microwave; cool to room temperature. Remove beets from bag; reserve liquid in bag. Peel beets, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Combine reserved liquid, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add beets, onion, and serrano; toss gently to coat.
Combine ricotta, provolone, and hot water, stirring well. Sprinkle salad with basil; top with cheese mixture.
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