There may be only a handful of my friends that would rush over to eat beet and potato gnocchi -gnocchi di barbabietola, and they are really smart friends! Seriously, I haven't met anyone yet that hasn't been a fan of potato gnocchi, but throw in beets and they may wonder what in the world is going on in our kitchen.
I'm a huge, I mean HUGE, fan of beets. I love red beets and golden beets. I love them shredded and raw and I especially love them roasted and added to a fun salad like this one. I love beet juice! I love the color and I love how my fingers turn red when I clean the red beets. I can't say that I particularly love canned beets, for me, the fun is all in the preparation of the beets. So on to these gnocchi.
I've been so excited to attempt to make and photograph them for all of you! It was a long, long time ago when I shared these gnocchi with a Bolognese sauce. Can I tell you how messy it is to make gnocchi and try to photograph them at the same time, especially when you add red beets? Truly, not an easy task. But I was determined to get this together and finally photograph them. I promise to be back with some more homemade pasta or Italian dumplings. Maybe I'll find someone to help me photograph them!!
I had my beets sitting in the fridge for a while, and I was sure they had given up on me and my crazy idea. Luckily, they were still waiting for me and there was really nothing to stop me. Except maybe my husband who said making and photographing them would be a little messy. It didn't seem as if he was too interested in assisting me. It was his night off and he even invited a chef friend to stop by. SO there you go, no pressure or any thing. Just me and my roasted beets and my cooked potatoes and my sticky dough trying to come together and look cool while the chef friend is looking over at my pasta board asking my husband in Italian if I was making beet gnocchi. And he asked it in a way that seemed he was about to make a critique. I was working the dough and looked over at him and asked him if it seemed like it was going ok, and he said that's how he makes his beet gnocchi. So I kept on plugging ahead with my gnocchi while my husband continued talking with him and invited him to stay for dinner. He also didn't seem to interested to jump in and help me on his evening off, so I kept plugging ahead and photographed what I could of this fast and sticky process.
I wanted to have just a simple butter and sage sauce. The sage we used was from my herb garden. We then added in some fresh chopped tomatoes. There was a stick of butter, a handful of the fresh sage and about 2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper. We weren't following a recipe (like many of the Italian savory dishes I do!). If you want to skip the tomatoes, a simple butter and sage sauce would be just perfect!
Our impromptu gnocchi making night was fun for the whole family and our visiting chef friend here from Italy. We sat outside and enjoyed the gorgeous evening. The kids were arguing just a little bit and my son was wondering why the gnocchi are such a weird color, but he enjoyed every last one! It's taken me a while to get this recipe up here, excuse the delay as I attempt to catch up with a a couple of recipes I've wanted to share here! One of my pups had a massive surgery on her leg. It was pretty sad to see her not able to use one of her legs and the last two days before surgery she was usually hiding way, way under the darkest, safest corner of the couch. Surgery was last week and it went well and she has that ridiculous cone on her head, but she seems used to it by now.
some notes on this recipe:
As I mentioned in the post above, it's not easy to make gnocchi and to photograph them. You maybe will be making them just for the sheer pleasure of enjoying them, so the mess won't be tricky to deal with. I pureed my beets in my food processor. If you have a potato ricer, that is ideal to get the potatoes totally smooth. You could need more flour as you are going along putting together the gnocchi dough.
Important notes while making dough:
1) mash the potatoes while they are hot.
2)cool the potatoes before adding to flour/eggs.
3) don’t forget to add flour to your working surface so it won’t stick while you are working it.
4) don’t over mix or it will become mushy.
5) cook in boiling/salted water.
6) don’t stir while cooking or they will stick.
7) they will float to top when they are ready
Beet and Potato Gnocchi-Gnocchi di Barbabietola
Prep Time: approx 1 1/2 hours
Cook Time: cook them until gnocchi rise t
Ingredients (8 servings)
- 2 baking potatoes
- 2 medium beets
- 2 egg yolks
- 1tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wrap beets with aluminum foil. Wash the potatoes and boil them until they are very soft (boil with peels on). When they are soft, time to mash the potato. You should use a ricer, if you have one or you could use a potato masher. You need to wait until the potatoes are a little cool, but they need to be not cold.
Bake beets for 75 minutes. When they are done, leave them on the the counter until they are cool enough to be able to handle.
Peel skin from potato and beets. Pass the potato through a ricer or a food mill. If you don't have a ricer or a food mill, use a fork, a masher or a box grater.
Put the peeled beets into a food processor and run until the beets are very smooth. Mix potato and beets in a big bowl and combine well.
Flour the surface of the counter, make a mound of potato and beets mixture and make a well in the middle. Add egg yolks, salt, pepper in the well and mix them very well with your hands.
Add 1/2 cup flour and mix into the potatoes. Keep adding 1/2 cup flour, mix and fold until the dough is still soft but dry enough to handle when you roll it.
Flour the counter again and divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2-inch diameter rope then cut into 3/4-inch long pieces with a knife.
*If you have the time to make indentations on your gnocchi, press gently each pieces of gnocchi gently with a back of a large fork to make the ridges.
Set them aside on floured baking sheets with parchment paper or kitchen towel (not paper) and dust with more flour on top of the gnocchi.
At this point, you can freeze them on the baking sheets or cook them. Cook them in simmering hot water until the gnocchi rise to the water surface. Give them another minute in the water and remove them from the water. Toss them with olive oil. If you don't eat until later that day, you still need to cook them, coat with olive oil and refrigerate until time to eat. Right before you eat, reheat the gnocchi with hot water for 30 seconds.