Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com
Though I may hate on Valentine’s Day because everyone gets all smooch-y and lovey dove-y (the only guy I need in my life is my gelding), I am really a sucker for all seasonal things. I like everything orange and pumpkin for fall; I like green, red, snowflakes and reindeer for Christmas; I like pink, red, white and hearts for Valentine’s. This year’s Valentine’s Day was no exception: beet gnocchi. Yes, it may sound strange but beets are nature’s natural red dye (the original red velvet cake was made with beet juice!). These gnocchi (or ñoquis as we say in Argentina), taste just like regular potato ones. What’s special is their bright red color. I served them with cream and cheese, as we do any pasta at home, and I was very delightedly surprised to see the cream turn pink! My dad was on a business trip, so I made half the recipe for just my mom and I. Overall, we had a very pleasant, very Valentine-y dinner!
Yields 4 servings
- 1 pound starchy potatoes (such as Idaho or russet)
- ½ pound beets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- Steam the potatoes in the microwave until tender. Split them open immediately to let the steam escape. When you can handle the potatoes, scoop out the flesh. Using a fork or masher, purée the potatoes.
- Peel and grate the beets. Put the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the beets, season to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer the beets and potatoes into a food processor and purée until combined and very smooth. Season to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- In the meantime, sprinkle ¼ cup flour on a clean counter and knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling the remaining ½ cup of flour until the dough just comes together.
- Roll a piece of dough into a ½-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into ½-inch lengths. Score each piece by rolling it along the tines of a fork. As each piece is ready, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper; don not allow the gnocchi to touch one another.
- Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and gently stir. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously. A few seconds after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and serve with your favorite sauce.
Comments: This recipe isn’t all that hard though it does require a decent amount of hands-on time. It is typical for us in Argentina to serve pasta with cream and cheese (for me, it’s the only way to go). However, New York Times had some other suggestions for sauces: tomato sauce, brown butter, sage and Parmesan, olive oil and garlic or bacon and cream. I’ll add some trivia as well: in Argentina, we have a tradition in which we eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month; we slide a money bill under our plates and its value is supposed to multiply. Feel free to adopt this tradition! It’s great! Buon appetito!