Sunday, 17 March 2013

Homemade beet gnocchi with beurre blanc sauce

I was always a little terrified to make homemade gnocchi because I've heard so many horror stories about how difficult it is. While I will admit it is time-consuming, I am here to tell you it is NOT HARD AT ALL. I took many short cuts and mine still turned out beautifully. I made them with beets instead of the traditional potatoes, per this Food & Wine recipe. It also calls for ricotta which, from my research, is not typically in potato gnocchi. It took me about 2.5 hours to prepare (an hour of which is just cooking the beets), so I would recommend making it the day before you serve it. You can store the uncooked gnocchi in the refrigerator for a couple of days or freeze them individually on a cookie sheet, then toss them in a bag and keep for a couple of months (see notes at end of recipe).
Aren't they gorgeous?


Makes about 8 1-cup servings.

2 lbs. medium beets, scrubbed
Olive oil
1 c. part skim ricotta
1 egg
3/4 c. shredded white Italian cheese (I used a blend of Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Provolone)
1 Tbsp. salt
3 c. flour

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat the beets in olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap individually in foil. Bake for an hour, let cool and then peel.
2. Roughly chop the beets and puree them in a blender or food processor.*
3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine 1 1/2 c. beets, ricotta, egg, cheese and salt on low speed until blended. Keeping the mixer on low, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until combined.**
4. Separate the dough into 10 pieces. Roll the pieces out into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.***
They freeze beautifully.
5. To cook the gnocchi, bring a 2-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add about 15 gnocchi at a time, wait until they float and let them cook a minute or two more. Remove and set on an oiled surface.

*The beets are technically supposed to be a bit overcooked so they become a puree, kind of like mashed potatoes. However, mine were a tad under-cooked and were more finely minced than anything, and that worked just fine in the recipe.
**After adding 2 cups of flour I thought there was no way I needed to/could add more flour. Add it anyways! It's completely necessary!
***If you don't want to cook the gnocchi immediately, you can freeze or refrigerate them. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper and lay the individual gnocchi on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate overnight. Then, transfer to a large plastic ziploc baggie and seal tightly for longer storage (3-4 days in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the freezer). You can cook them from frozen.


Serves 4.

Beurre blanc (makes 1/2 cup):
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 Tbsp. chopped onions
1 stick of chilled butter, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Other ingredients:
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
2 chicken bratwurst, cooked and cut into small pieces
1/2 c. bacon, fried and chopped finely
4 c. beet gnocchi, cooked
1/2 c. Italian blend cheeses (I used a blend of Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Provolone), for serving
Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving

1. Make the beurre blanc sauce. Stir the vinegar, wine and onions together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until greatly reduced (1 Tbsp. liquid remaining).
2. Remove from heat and stir in two pieces of chilled butter until incorporated. Return to low heat, and stir in the rest of the butter adding 1-2 pieces at a time. Stir constantly. Once all of the butter is incorporated, remove sauce from heat, cover and set aside. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a large frying pan, toast the walnuts over medium heat about 3-5 minutes. Add the bratwurst, bacon and gnocchi; heat, constantly stirring, until everything is warm. Remove from heat, add 1/4 c. beurre blanc and stir until everything is coated.
4. Transfer to four serving bowls and top with 2 Tbsp. cheese and a pinch of chopped parsley.

Disclaimer: This is not health food, but it's worth the indulgence, trust me. Leaving off the beurre blanc will cut 211 calories and 23 g of fat, but significantly reduces the deliciousness. You make the call :-)

Nutrition, per serving: 907 calories, 45 g carbs, 64 g fat, 41 g protein

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