Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Heart-Beet Gnocchi

I don't remember exactly where I saw these gnocchi. It could have been on a cooking show. In a magazine article. On Pinterest. Or one of the many food blogs I look at every night. I don't even remember the exact recipe except that they were made with ricotta. What I do know is that I couldn't wait to make them!
And guess what? I made them just for me for lunch. Crazy! Right? But I'm worth it! Hahaha. I mean I did have lots of leftovers. I didn't boil all the gnocchi, just enough for one. This recipe easily feeds 4 people. I'm going to save the rest for my nieces and my nephew, Nicholas who LOVES gnocchi!
Please don't be intimidated with homemade pasta. These are super easy. From start to finish, it took one hour. And I mean I was eating them within an hour.
I'm calling these Heart-Beet Gnocchi for the obvious reasons: they are red and I think they would make a wonderful Valentines day meal.
I made these with brown butter and grated parmesan cheese. Normally I would have added fresh sage to the butter but my sage is buried in my garden under 5 feet of snow.
You can make these with a tomato sauce, a meat sauce or a cream sauce. Whatever floats your boat!
I really hope you try making these!

Heart-Beet Gnocchi

1 lb full fat ricotta
1 1/2- 2 cups flour
1 large egg
2 small beets (a little bigger than an egg), roasted, peeled and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Place the beets in a food processor and puree. In a bowl mix together the pureed beets, ricotta, egg, salt and nutmeg. Start by adding 1 1/2 cups of the flour first. You might need more if your beets are a little bigger, which is no big deal, just add more flour.

Try not to over mix or the gnocchi will be tough.
Once the dough has come together, place on a floured surface and gently work until you have a soft ball adding additional flour so the dough is not too sticky.
Flatten the ball into a disc, about an inch thick, making sure your surface is always lightly floured.

Cut into 1 inch strips and roll using fingers of both hands to form a rope.

Once you have the rope, with a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch pieces.

Now take that gnocchi and place your thumb on it and gently push down and away from you. It essentially creates a little groove for the sauce to adhere to.

As you continue rolling, cutting and forming the gnocchi, make sure you place them on a lightly floured tray.

At this point you can refrigerate them until you are ready to cook.
Bring a big pot of water to a boil and salt liberally or as Mario Batali likes to say, it should taste like the sea. Drop in the gnocchi and stir carefully. They will be at the bottom of the pot but as soon as they all come up, they are ready.

Drain and add brown butter and parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

Brown Butter 

Brown butter or beurre noisette is literally translated, hazelnut butter. It's butter that is cooked until it is brown. What you are doing is toasting the milk solids and developing a deep nutty flavour.
To make brown butter, simply melt unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Preferably stainless steel so you can see the butter change colour. Continue until it boils and begins to brown. There will be specks at the bottom of the pan, those are the milk solids. That's what you want. It's ready when it is a dark, honey colour. Take off the heat and throw in the gnocchi.
You can use this butter on so many things like fish and steamed vegetables. Even sweet dishes like cakes and cookies. Yummy!

m xo

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