Farmers Market Friday: Red Beet Gnocchi

Happy Friday! A few weeks ago, the official start to Spring came along, but not with the most favorable weather. From day to day, there was a rapid shift in temperatures. In Arlington, we got snow one Saturday and two days later, I was working on my homework outside in the 70 degree Fahrenheit weather. While all the weather changes may seem mind boggling to us humans, imagine how difficult it is for the land that grows our vegetables.
IMG_9863The fickle weather affects the harvest of our beloved vegetables that we find on the weekends at the market. Thus, don’t be surprised if your go-to spring veggies are not yet there. Trust me, your farmers are waiting to pick them when they are perfect…not just mediocre. So for the time being, you can still enjoy all the winter vegetables, like beets.IMG_9864I have very few childhood memories of eating beets. Maybe that’s because they just picked up their popularity within the last few years. Beets aren’t my first pick winter veggies but they’re definitely not my last either. Red beets are known for their earthy taste and red coloring. Raw beets are not my cup of tea, but when they are cooked just the right way, I fall head over heels.IMG_9865While I don’t have any childhood story about beets, all of my fondest memories are of the pasta-loving child that I use to be….and for the record, I’m still in love with pasta. Many people share the same story about going to Grandma’s house where upon arrival, they would be welcomed with a jar of cookies or plate of brownies. While I wish this would happen to me, I arrived to a box of tricolored homemade pasta made by my dearly beloved Mamie (grandma is french). Even though it was just a box that sat in her dining room, it still gave me assurance that I wouldn’t have to eat all the stinky french food and save my appetite for a bowl of pasta. IMG_9873While some of you may question why I wouldn’t opt for the french food, remember I was a child who loved anything bland and wouldn’t allow my food to touch…unless it was pasta with a good meat sauce, topped with parmesan. Mamie use to make her own pasta and would color it orange with carrot juice and green with pureed spinach. I did eat my vegetables as a child, but adding them to pasta just made them so much better. Thus, I decided to up my pasta game by making my pasta a red-ish/pink-ish/purplue-ish color with beets.IMG_9874I have to admit, this idea did not just pop into my head one day, even though I wish it did. Instead, I found it while sifting through my emails from Saveur. While it’s no surprise that  Saveur created this little gem, the fact that this is not tricky may just blow you mind. But as with making any kind of homemade gnocchi, the ratio’s for making the dough work can be difficult. Since you now have a recipe though, have no fear. IMG_9875As you may not notice from Saveur‘s pictures, the gnocchi’s have a deep red hue. But I didn’t find them to be as red. Once they are cooked, I found that they were more pale pink/violet color than the deep red. I wish I had a picture but I forgot to take one once they were cook, sorry! But with guidance from the recipe, I don’t think (and I don’t hope) that anything will go wrong. So now, it’s in your hands. Want to know more about gnocchi? Here’s a great page on Saveur that will lead you to the history, recipes, and tips.IMG_9879


Farmers Market Friday: Red Beet Gnocchi

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 14 lb. small red beets, greens separated and beets scrubbed
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup homemade ricotta or store-bought ricotta
  • 12 cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 12 cups all-purpose flour
  • Semolina flour, for dusting

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°. Toss beets, 2 tbsp. oil, salt, pepper, and 14 cup water in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and cover with foil; roast until tender, about 1 hour. Peel beets and transfer to a food processor. Add ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, egg, and salt; purée until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Add 1 12cups flour and, using your hands, mix until a sticky dough forms.
Sprinkle 12 cup flour on a work surface. Place dough on top. Sprinkle remaining flour over dough and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit 30 minutes.
Cut dough into 6 pieces, incorporating flour; this is an extremely soft dough. Working with one piece at a time, and using your hands, roll dough into a 12“-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into 12” gnocchi; transfer to a semolina-dusted, parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Separate gnocchi to prevent sticking.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a simmer over medium-high. Cook gnocchi, all at once, until they float, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to serving dish.
This is where your creativity kicks in: how will you serve it?


Bon Appetit,

-Stephanie

Recipe adapted from: http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/beet-ricotta-gnocchi-with-beet-greens-and-balsamic

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