Jan 21, 2010

beet gnocchi

This week I've been eating a sweet potato tart that I made on Monday. It's good but there is a bit more tweaking I want to do with the recipe before I share it. So instead I'm going to introduce you all to fabulous beet gnocchi! I first played around with this recipe a couple years ago, but pulled it out again last week as I had a pile of beets gathering in the fridge.

For some reason every time I was at the store recently I kept thinking how I needed to get another beet, knowing that I wanted to make these. But then of course when I finally looked up my recipe notes and realized that 1-2 was all that was needed. Needless to say I've been eating them the rest of the week with my tart. Dinner this week has been orange, red, gold, with a touch of green (a bit of broccoli).

The color on these babies was absolutely beautiful! And they are so tasty both with or without the sauce. I made a quick olive oil, pine nut sauce to top them, but simple butter and cheese would also be good. I've been really enjoying pine nuts lately. They seem to add another layer of flavor that I don't find with other nuts, and their not quite as dry. I'll have to find out where they are grown to see how local I can get them.

beet gnocchi
adapted from Apples for Jam

Cook time: 1 hour or less

5 small potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled (I used 3 Yukon Gold and 2 Red)
2 medium beets, steamed and peeled
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, slightly beaten
salt and olive oil
4 tablespoons butter

for a simple sauce

1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and boil for about 25 minutes until they are soft. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel them, and pass them through a food mill into a bowl, or mash thoroughly. (I mashed as best I could and still had small chunks of potato, however once all the dough came together I didn't even notice them.)

Puree the beets in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, a just a touch of olive oil to make the blending easier if necessary. You will need 3/4 cup of beet puree, which is then folded into the potatoes. Add the flour, Parmesan, egg, and salt to taste. Mix everything together first with a wooden spoon and then by hand until you have a completely smooth soft dough. The gnocchi need to be shaped and cooked right away to avoid having to add more flour, which would make them hard.

For the sauce coarsely chop up most of the pine nuts, leaving a few whole. Put them in a small bowl and add the Parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix this an set aside as you cook the gnocchi.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and have a casserole dish ready with the butter (cut into chunks) in the bottom. Divide the dough into four and hand roll out each portion into a long salami about 1/2 inch in diameter. Try to avoid adding flour to the work surface, but if needed lightly flour your hands while rolling. Cut each salami into short lengths (about 1/2 inch), and don't worry if they are not all uniform. Cook them in batches, dropping them into the boiling water and stirring gently. They are ready as soon as they bob up to the surface (which takes less than a minute), then quickly lift them out with a slotted spoon, put them in the dish with the butter and continue until finished.

Toss the gnocchi with the butter and sauce in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan and serve immediately.

Serves 3 as a main or 4 as a side.


Amy said...

I was lucky enough to be visiting Alison and receive a serving of this dish. It is a gorgeous red, and has a nice beet flavor. Best of all was the texture. If you are a fan of beets and gnnochi you will be in heaven!!

Alison Clayshulte said...

Amy - so glad you liked it. It was wonderful to have you visit and get to try the beet gnocchi.