Oh mince! I had forgotten about those beets!
I had to find something to do with them, n’est-ce pas ? Nothing hurts me more than tossing food because I forget about it. I could have done something I knew well how to, but I did not feel like making neither a soup nor a salad, although these sounded both good too. I was in fact looking forward to something new to use my bunch of soon-to-fade beets.
So when P. walked into the kitchen on Saturday morning to tell me I take that we stay here this weekend, don’t we?, he gave me a brilliant idea. Inspiring!
Of course, we were staying in! There was really little chance that anything more exciting and adventurous could happen with my turned-black foot still bothering me — and that’s a mild way to put it as I have never had such a pitch black bruise. Within a few days, I’ve mastered the hopping technique like a pro and I can even cover distances in the house — from stove to couch — quite fast. I think I even like it.
“Gnocchi?” I said after I caught sight of lost potatoes in the vegetable basket. They too looked like they needed to find a happy destiny on my stove soon.
P. and I love gnocchi. There was a time when I would make gnocchi quite often, but as with many foods, my cooking inspiration goes in phases: when I tire of one dish or ingredient, I move to the next to find new stimulation, only to come back to it later. Like many of us, I like to play with a recipe for weeks, to understand it better, and improve it. And then, by some sort of unexplained reason, I seem to forget about it for months, as if it never existed. Enfin presque !
Things would be slow during the weekend, I knew that far. So perhaps it was natural that the thought of being comfortably home made me crave for comfy food, you know, the kind of food that you imagine enjoying with a good bottle of red wine, and a good movie afterwards. I knew that gnocchi would be a winner for our mood: not difficult to make, and comforting.
I had not made beet gnocchi before, so I was quite pleased to take advantage of the situation to be inspired. With potatoes and lovely flours, I could not possibly go wrong. So I imagined my gnocchi served warm at lunch, arranged in a salad dressed in a hazelnut vinaigrette, with toasted hazelnuts and fresh spinach — I bet pieces of gorgonzola in it too would be a nice addition. Then on the same day, I served the leftovers for dinner — yes I do this type of things — with an oven-roasted tenderloin pork prepared with sage, pesto, prosciutto and cherry tomatoes. A different way to accommodate the same food for different moods, making for an entire gnocchi day.
And the next day, I served the only ten left as a tiny appetizer dressed in the pistachio, arugula and basil pesto I had prepared for my meat the previous night.
And because a meal would not be complete chez nous without dessert, I also used the lovely strawberries P. had brought home — oh yes, did I tell you that he did the grocery shopping for me this week, I could get used to it — to make Lemongrass strawberry floating islands.
To feel a taste of Spring. After all, we managed to have our first lunch outside in the garden.
We loved the gnocchi the three ways, didn’t leave a drop of the dessert. All this red turned our plates into an explosion of cheerful colors and heathful food.
But listen, do you actually know what my first thought was when I fell on my foot?
Oh no!!!! Our trip to Italy!
Needless to say that the gnocchi and our strawberry dessert really helped, making me feel as if we were there already.
And making me forget about my painful foot.
- 7 oz cooked beets, peeled and diced
- 14 oz baking potatoes when peeled
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown rice flour (or white)
- 1/3 cup potato starch
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut flour
- 1 egg
- Toasted hazelnuts, peeled and chopped coarsely
- Fresh spinach leaves
For the vinaigrette:
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
- Peel the potatoes and dice them. Steam* until cooked (about 12 to 15 minutes).
- With a potato ricer, mash the potatoes with the beets. Combine the mashed vegetables in a bowl, and place them on a floured working area.
- Make a hole in the middle and add the egg. Mix together. Season with salt and pepper, and add the hazelnut powder, rice flour, cornstarch and potato flour. Adjust the flour accordingly. The dough should stay somewhat wet but not overly so.
- Divide it in 4 pieces and roll i each into a long stick. Cut small pieces and make a design with a fork if you like (by rolling each gnocchi in the fork.)
- Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water for a few minutes only. The gnocchi are ready when they rise to the surface.
- To serve, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all ingredients in this order: salt and pepper, vinegar, shallot and emulsify with the oil; then add the coriander. Serve the warm gnocchi with the spinach leaves and the toasted chopped hazelnuts. Or serve with your favorite sauce, like perhaps a homemade pesto (mine was a pistachio/arugula/basil one.)
*Perhaps you know it is best to steam or bake the potatoes in the oven for gnocchi. They will be lighter when you make them.
- 200 g de betteraves cuites, et pelées
- 400 g de pommes de terre, épluchées
- Sel, poivre
- 1 càs d’huile d’olive
- 70 g de farine de riz complet (ou blanche)
- 50 g de fécule de pommes de terre
- 2 càs de maizena
- 2 càs de poudre de noisettes
- 1 oeuf
- Noisettes grillées à sec, pelées et concassées
- Feuilles d’épinards frais
Pour la vinaigrette:
- Sel et poivre
- 2 càs de vinaigre de cidre
- 1 échalote, hachée finement
- 2 càs d’huile de noisette
- 3 càs d’huile de colza
- 1 càs de coriandre fraîche, hachée
- Pelez vos pommes de terre et coupez-les en gros cubes. Faites-les cuire à la vapeur (environ 12 à 15 minutes selon la taille des cubes).
- Réduisez les pommes de terre cuites en purée (avec les betteraves) à l’aide d’un presse purée. Mélangez bien et mettez cette purée toute rose sur un plan de travail fariné.
- Faites un puits au milieu et cassez un oeuf. Incorporez le tout; salez et poivrez. Ajoutez ensuite les farines, la poudre de noisettes. Ajustez la quantite de farine nécessaire selon la consistance. La pâte doit être humide mais pas de trop non plus.
- Dividez en 4 et façonnez chaque morceau en long boudin. Coupez vos gnocchi dans chaque boudin, et faites un dessin à l’aide des dents d’une fourchette, si vous le souhaitez.
- Cuisez les gnocchi dans un grand volume d’eau salée. Ils sont cuits quand ils remontent à la surface. Égouttez-les.
- Pour servir, préparez la vinaigrette en mélangeant tous les ingrédients dans cet ordre: sel et poivre, vinaigre, échalotte puis émulsionnez avec l’huile; ajoutez ensuite la coriandre. Servez ensuite les gnocchi chauds sur un lit d’épinards avec les noisettes grillées concassées. Ou servez avec votre sauce préférée, ou même un pesto maison ; le mien était aux pistaches vertes, roquette et basilic.
*Vous le savez peut-être déjà : il vaut mieux cuire les pommes de terre au four ou à la vapeur pour obtenir une texture des gnocchi plus légère .