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Monday, February 21, 2011

Pink Gnocchi Project

Today is Family Day and that means no school.  As part of our "do everything together all day" project I thought we'd finish off the gnocchi I started the other day.  I found the recipe for this at Culinary Adventures With Camilla  while I was surfing through the entries in last week's "A Little Birdie Told Me" over at Rook No.17.  It caught my eye because it's made with beets, one of those foods I secretly love.  I tweaked the recipe only slightly and here's how it went...

 I don't have any photos of the very start of the project because I completed that part yesterday.  I took 12 yukon gold potatoes ( some were smaller than others but I'd say overall "medium" sized) and 2 good sized beets, washed them, coated them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour until they were fork tender.  Once they came out and cooled a little, I peeled them all.  The potatoes got cut into big chunks and mashed with a potato masher and the beets went through the shredder.   I added 1 beaten egg, about a tbsp of butter and a cup of parmasean cheese to the potatoes, added the beets and mixed it all up.

This is very different from how I learned how to make gnocchi, I've always boiled my potatoes and then run them through a potato ricer.  I've also never added butter or cheese to the dough before.  I found the mix a bit lumpy for my taste and thought about returning to the boiling and ricing method if I did this again and then sticking the beets in a food processor.  I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

So, once the basic dough is done all you have to do is mix in flour until you get the "right" consistancy for gnocchi.

This can be tricky and just to be sure, especially if I'm making a huge batch, I'll put a little pot of water on to boil and when I think I've got the right amount of flour I'll make a couple of test gnocchi and boil them to see how they hold up.  It avoids getting mushy (too little flour) or tough and chewy (too much flour) gnocchi after all this work.

I kneaded the dough in a little bit of flour and at this point it looks a lot like home made play dough.  I cut the dough into 4 manageable pieces and my daughter and I each took two to work with.

 Roll each section into a snake about as thick as a broom handle.  Here's my daughter sulking because her gnocchi snake isn't looking exactly like mine.

 I cut my dough into about 1/2" pieces and then roll them all into little balls.  This is different than the recipe I was following but old habits die hard.

 I then used my gnocchi paddle - which is actually an antique butter paddle that I picked up at a consignment shop I used to work at many, many moons ago - to make them into the signature gnocchi shape.  You can use a fork instead.  Actually, I didn't do this part myself.  It turns out that my daughter is much better, and much faster, at this job than I am and she rolled every single little one of them.

Once they're all rolled up, all you have to do is boil them is some water until they float to the surface, it only takes a minute or two so don't walk away from them.  I somewhat followed Camilla's recipe and dressed them with olive oil, balsamic and grated cheese.  I didn't have the pomegranate balsamic that she called for but I did have a really nice aged balsamic that I got for Christmas and has a lovely fruity taste.  I also didn't have Asiago cheese and used Parmesan instead.  I added a couple of slices of roasted beets to dress the plate, but that's not really a necessity.  I did make enough yesterday to feed three people as a main course and today I made double that amount (all from the same batch of dough).  So, I'd say I got eight to nine servings out of this recipe.  Yesterday I served mine with cut up roasted turkey kabanos sausages and a  mixed green salad.  I liked the way the salty meat went with the fruity balsamic of the gnocchi, but that's just me.  I'd also like to try this with a more traditional cream sauce, but am unsure how that would end up looking and tasting.



10-12 yukon gold potatoes
1-2 beets
1-2 tbs butter
1 cup grated parmasean or other hard cheese
1 egg, beaten
flour, lots of it
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt & pepper to taste

1 comment:

  1. It was so great to see that you tried Camilla's recipe and made it your own based on your experience with making gnocchi, and adding your own creative touches! It makes hosting "A Little Birdie Told Me..." so validating to see the way it connects people and inspires new ideas! Your gnocci sounds delicious and looks incredible!