Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi

You’re probably getting tired of my beet & peach posts, right?  Let me here you say…..”No”!  It seems that’s all I have been posting lately, but it’s currently what is in season in my area.  My garden is busting with beets and I ordered 2 large boxes of peaches from a local farm, so I am in the frenzy of using them up before I am throwing them out.

After making the below recipe for Beet Pasta Carbonara I was tweeting with a friend who said – “I bet gnocchi would taste great too”.  My wheels were spinning and I couldn’t stop thinking about making it.  So, yesterday, I dug up some beets, roasted them with sage and proceeded to whip up some gnocchi.  Boy, was that the best decision (since getting a spiral perm) I’ve made in a long time!  It was so delicate and tasty….even my picky teenager liked it.  (she doesn’t like food with color, see here)

It takes a bit of time, especially if you plan on making your own ricotta cheese, but it’s so worth the effort.  I made this as a side dish to accompany pork tenderloin.  It was just enough for us and saved a bit of room for an apple crisp and ice cream.  This could also be a great main course as well with some quick sauteed asparagus mixed in.  Mmm.  Ok, I’m drooling.  Again.

My kitchen has terrible lighting and no windows! 

After you puree the beets, mix them with ricotta cheese and enough flour to get a soft supple dough.  Let it rest for 30 minutes and then divide into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece out to a finger-sized width and use a bench scraper or a small knife and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Give them a quick toss in some flour to coat the cut edges and start forming the gnocchi with a fork or a gnocchi board.  I use a fork, but if anyone would like to buy me a gnocchi board, I’ll be your BFF forever.

Looks easy enough, right?  Now repeat….a lot.

Thank goodness my living room has a nice window.

Toss the formed gnocchi onto a floured rimmed baking sheet and form form form.  Make sure that you don’t pile the gnocchi on top of one another.  I tried this once, then refrigerated and ended up getting Taco Bell for dinner that night.  They all stuck together like one big giant blob of gnocchi.  It wasn’t pretty and after you’ve spent this much time and effort, a very large disappointment.  So learn from me…Don’t Pile!

Once all of the gnocchi have been formed, get a pot of water boiling and a large saute pan set to medium low with the butter and fresh sage.  This makes for easy removal from the boiling water and into the saute for a quick coat of melted butter and fried sage.  Mmm.

Seems easy enough, right?  If you decide to give it a shot, I’d love to hear from you!!

Beetroot Ricotta Gnocchi

A delicate gnocchi made from earthy beets and tart ricotta cheese that is a great side dish or even a main course meal.
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Ingredients
Roasted Beets
8 small/medium beets
6 sage leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Gnocchi
1 1/2 cups beet puree, from roasted beets above
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup Manchego cheese, finely grated
1 egg
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 – 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10-15 sage leaves
Grated Manchego cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub beets, trim tops and place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over and sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender and a knife inserts easily.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes.  Use a paper towel or your hands and slip the outer skin off and discard.  Add the beets to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl add 1 1/2 cups beet puree, ricotta cheese, manchego cheese, egg, salt and 2 cups of flour.  Mix will to combine.  Add more flour until the dough is soft and only slightly sticky.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.  Divide into 8 pieces and lightly dust the cut edges with flour to prevent sticking.
  3. Have ready a generously floured rimmed baking sheet for the formed gnocchi.  Set aside.  Flour a large board generously and using your hands make a long rope the width of your finger with the first piece of dough.  Cut into 1 inch pieces and lightly toss with flour to coat the cut edges.  Use a fork or gnocchi board to form the gnocchi, by placing the piece of dough on the tines of the fork and using your thumb to gently drag it down the fork.  It should curl a little as it goes down. Add to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.  NOTE: do not pile the gnocchi, or they will stick to each other.  This may require 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  4. Get a large pot of water boiling and salt.  In a large saute pan, add the 3 tablespoons butter and sage and turn to medium-low heat.  Add the 1/3 of the gnocchi to the boiling water (or less depending on your pot size) and allow them to cook until they float.  Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the top of the water and add to the butter/sage saute pan.  Repeat with remaining gnocchi.  Toss lightly to coat with the butter and serve on a warmed platter topped with more machego cheese.
Makes 6 side dish servings

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