These gnocchi are made from ricotta rather than potatoes, and the addition of beetroot transforms them into a beautiful pink color that is stunning. Who can resist such a pretty dish?
It’s actually quite an earthy mix of ingredients; beetroot, pumpkin and sage, all in a buttery rich sauce. I am a big fan of gorgonzola, especially the sweeter milder variety, Dolcelatte, and it takes this dish to another level. If you haven’t yet found the addictiveness of blue cheese, you must try it. Dolcelatte is quite mild, but has just enough tang and adds a creamy salty flavor to this dish. If you’re not convinced, use good quality shaved parmesan instead.... Read more.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Toss the beetroot with a little olive oil, season with salt. Place in a small roasting dish, add 80 ml (3 fl oz) water and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove and set aside to cool. Remove the skin.
Place the cooked cooled beetroot, ricotta, parmesan and egg into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Put the flour into a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Add the beetroot mixture and use your fork to gradually whisk the flour into the liquid. Once combined turn out onto a flour dusted bench and knead to form a soft dough. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour. This is a soft dough so you need to use your instincts here. If you’re unsure, form a little ball of dough, the size of a gnocchi, and cook in boiling water to make sure it holds together. If it disintegrates, add a little more flour to the dough. I like to do this check when making gnocchi as there’s a fine line between too little and too much flour. Cover with cling wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cut small sections of dough and roll into long, 1.5 cm (0.6 in) snakelike lengths. Cut into approximately 2 cm (0.8 in) pieces to form your gnocchi. Keep rolling and cutting, dusting with a little flour as you go, until you have used up all the dough. Set aside on a floured tray. At this point they can be placed in the freezer, then once frozen stored in zip lock bags. No need to defrost, just cook from their frozen state. Alternatively they can be refrigerated for a day.
Meanwhile, toss the pumpkin with a little olive oil and salt and spread out onto a lined oven tray. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once, or until tender and crisp on the edges. Remove and keep warm.
While the pumpkin is in the oven, lay the walnuts on an oven tray and bake for 3–5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove and set aside.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a deep dish that will hold all the gnocchi in a single layer. Cook the gnocchi, in two batches, in boiling salted water until they float to the surface. Cook around 30 seconds more, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and place in the oiled baking dish in a single layer. Toss with a little olive oil so that they don’t stick together while you prepare the sauce.
Heat a deep fry pan and add the butter. Cook on medium heat until butter is melted. Add the sage leaves and continue cooking until the butter is foaming, golden and sage is almost crisp. Add the lemon juice and pumpkin, toss gently to combine, then carefully add the gnocchi, tossing gently for a minute.
Remove from the heat, tip the gnocchi out on a large platter. Drizzle any remaining sauce from the pan over the top with the sage leaves. Sprinkle with walnuts and as much gorgonzola as you like and serve.
This recipe was featured in Food For Sharing Italian Style.
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