Okay, Ani is the bossy head chef in the kitchen from her hard wired chemistry lab training ways, so although these are joint productions, it is Ani who adds the magic. bob just writes up the results to share because he is a compulsive sharer.
Beets are called "barbabietola" in Italian, and over in the boot they have ways of using beets we Americans would never guess. Beet risotto? Terrific. Beet pesto? Tried it. Interesting variation on the many non-green pestos which one can find over there. "Bietola" or "bieta" is a related green leaf type of Italian chard which does not exist over here in the states, but apparently is a member of the beet family (compare the leaves!). The latter is bob's favorite cookable green leaf (much better than any chards available here!), quite distinct from spinach for example with its unique but subtle flavor. In the absence of this choice, bob substitutes power greens, most efficiently delivered at Costco in sufficient quantity to not shrink up to nothing. Over in Italy a single person serving is often what a family of four would eat in the US. In fact one can usually find these cooked greens in any place that serves lunch (or dinner of course), which many coffee bars do, with freshly prepared Italian food. No McDonald's for most Italians, although even the choices at that chain in Italy are better than ours.