Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Golden Beet Chevre Gnocchi

Better to try something and fail than to never have tried at all...afterall I can always try again, I don't give up!  This has been something that I have been saying to myself reguarding the making of gnocchi!  I had attempted making gnocchi quite a few times in the last month and almost given up, because my gnocchi always turned out like dumplings, too sticky to be shaped, or too full of flour.  But I don't give up.  So last weekend I attempted to make them again...and succeeded!  Ok, so part of the problem was I wasn't following recipes, because I never do.  Also I wasn't making the traditional potato gnocchi, so that might have been why the dough was more sticky.  But whatever the case this time I made them with golden beets and chevre and they turned out delcious!  Pillowy and soft as gnocchi should be!  Not tough and heavy like my failed attempts. 

I had thought that chevre would have less moisture than the traditional ricotta, therefore needing less flour...and I was right!  The gnocchi dough itself only had 4 ingredients, chevre, golden beets, eggs and flour, and proved to be easy to shape!  The only thing I was disappointed about was the fact that the lovely yellow color of the beets was lost in the gnocchi.  But I got over it when I tasted how delicious they were!  I could be sneaky and serve them to beet haters and they would love them not even knowing they contained beets!  I decided to serve them with a caramelized shallot and fennel mixture laced with garlic and lemon and topped off with crunchy walnuts.  It was all delicious once it was plated, and quite beautiful, especially to me since it was a sucess!  The gnocchi were like little delicious pillows, toasty on the outside, soft in the middle, and the fennel and shallots were almost jam like, deliciously savory with the garlic and tart lemon.  It was the perfect dish for a chilly spring day!  Here is the recipe if you would like to try some for yourself! 

Golden Beet Chevre Gnocchi with Caramelized Fennel and Toasted Walnuts
Serves 3

4 oz organic local chevre (soft goat cheese)
1/2 cup roasted organic golden beat puree*
2 cups all purpose flour (sifted), plus additional for flouring work surface
1 large organic egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 large organic fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
4 large shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
2 large organic lemons
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

In a large bowl, beat together the goat cheese beet puree and mix until evenly combined.  Add the eggs, followed by the salt, and pepper.  Slowly add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until it is all incorporated into the dough. If your dough seems a bit too wet, feel free to add an extra 1/4 cup of flour. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured work surface and knead for a few minutes. The dough will still be fairly wet, but you should be able to handle it.  Working with about a handful of dough at a time, roll out a long snake about an inch thick. Use a floured knife to cut out the gnocchi every inch and a half or so. Roll each gnocchi along the tines of a fork (or simply indent by gently pressing the back of the fork into the side of each nugget). Place the formed gnocchi on a floured baking sheet.  When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the gnocchi in batches. Let cook until they bob to the surface and then cook for an additional 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to pull out of the pot and set aside on a plate.  Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.  Add fennel, shallots, and saute until caramelized and soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove fennel and shallots from pan and set aside.  Add additional 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan, and add gnocchi.  Cook until golden on each side, about 4-5 minutes total.  Add shallots back to the pan along with 1 Tbsp zest, juice of 2 lemons, a little more olive oil if desired, walnuts, and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Cook until heated through, and serve warm  with a salad!

*To roast beets, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Wrap 2 large beets in foil and roast in the oven for about an hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Let cool, peel, and puree in a blender. 


Sandra said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds wonderful Amy, and pretty too! Great recipe, got to try it on weekend!
I never tried making gnocchi myself, and I heard it is easy but now you scared me a bit:)) maybe I should just buy them again:))
Thanks so much for sharing!

Lizzy said...

Oh, I'd love a plate of your fabulous gnocchi, Amy! It's been ages since I've made any...I may need to rectify that soon!

Joy said...

The recipe looks so good.

Happy When Not Hungry said...

What a beautiful dish! I love the gnocchi as well as the caramelized fennel. Yum!

Lynds said...

What a fantastic and original idea! I love it!! I definitely want to give this one a go : )

Peggy said...

What a great gnocchi! I definitely need to try to make my own sometime - it's on my list of things to do (which seems to be ever-growing!)

Kate said...

I love gnocchi, beets and caramelized anything so this sounds divine!

Kate@Diethood said...

Gnocchi can be a bit tricky, but persistence always pays off...obviously! Your gnocchi recipe sounds fantabulous!

Wilde in the Kitchen said...

Hooray for succeeding at gnocchi! They look pretty good, especially all dressed up and plated.

Le Petit Lapin said...

Oh my, your gnocchi recipe sounds amazing! And with the fennel and walnut....I definitely need to try this recipe!

Celia said...

I love the idea of putting beets in gnocchi! With chevre! Brava, lady :-)

Claudia said...

I make beets all the time and have yet to like them (but my husband does - so I continue). I wonder if the golden beets are not as sharp. I like the idea of them in the gnocchi - maybe you just convinced me, Amy!