Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beet and Ricotta Gnocchi

Aaron and I recently started splitting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box with our friends Corey and Brian. Most of it hasn’t put out a lot of surprises (I know what to do with apples. It involves eating them), we recently got a couple of beets. Fortunately for me, I still star a million things in my reader and this recipe came up not too long before the box did. Et voila! Something new and different and fun.

Beet and Ricotta Gnocchi from Dixie Caviar:

Serves 2 with leftovers

1 medium or two small red beets, washed
1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
8 Tb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
Fresh sage leaves

Place a cheese cloth-lined colander over a bowl and drain the ricotta overnight, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, open aluminum foil and let beets cool. Slip the skins off with your hands. Your hands will turn pink. Don’t worry, they’ll just get pinker with the next step. Grate the beets into a mixing bowl on the large hole of a box grater. Add the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to the beets. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add 2/3 cup flour to the ricotta mixture and whisk together to mix. Set the mixture aside for a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator. Can be made up to two days ahead. Wash your hands…for now they will be unpink.
Use a spring form scoop to measure out the dough. Or just grab some hunks. Use your palms to form dough balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Roll the ball into a bowl of flour, carefully turning to lightly coat all sides, tapping off any excess. Lay each dumpling on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I skipped this step and just lined them up on my cutting board. Continue forming the gnocchi until all the mixture is gone.

Add the dough balls into a pot of gently simmering salted water and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water as they are done and place them on a platter. Use a paper towel to soak up any excess water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter together with the sage leaves in a skillet over medium heat. Let the butter lightly brown and the sage leaves become nice and crispy, about 10 minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi to the skillet and toss with the butter to warm them up a bit. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with fresh Parmesan for grating.

These are really, really interesting. Even if you’re not a huge beet lover, I’d give these a try. They add an earthy flavor to gnocchi and make for a really fun and colorful dish.

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