This is only the second time I have ever made gnocchi. The first attempt was at Christmas a few years ago. My sister and I were trying to recreate the gnocchi we devoured at The Spotted Pig in NYC. It wasn’t successful. But I’ve been watching, researching and getting a better grasp on the art of making gnocchi since that disaster. The secret: don’t overwork the dough and start with room temperature ingredients.
This dish is a show stopper and a total make-ahead meal. It’s absolutely stunning with the magenta morsels nestled in the creamy sea of white. I served this for a girl’s dinner on a weeknight and all of the pieces were made days before. The gnocchi were prepared a week before and popped in the freezer (thaw the day of in the refrigerator). The cream sauce was made 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator and reheated. Assembly was quick. Impress your people. Feed them this.
For the gnocchi:
- 3 small red beets, roasted and pureed
- 1 pound whole milk fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup flour
For the cream sauce:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 12 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
For the garnishes:
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 10 fresh basil leaves – chiffonade (long thin strips)
- Parmesan Cheese – for garnish
- Gorgonzola crumbles – for garnish
To roast beets: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and dry beets. On a large sheet of foil, drizzle beats with olive oil & season with salt. Fold into foil pouch (or bake in a baking dish covered with foil) and bake for 30min -1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. They should be fork tender. Place into food processor and puree. Set aside.
To make the gnocchi: Place beet puree in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix in 1 cup of the flour. (Dough can be made one day ahead, cover and refrigerate).
Sprinkle some flour on your countertop or board. Take a handful of the “dough” and place on counter or board. Lightly shape & roll the dough into a log. Cut into 1-inch pieces and shape into balls. Then transfer to baking sheet. Do this in batches. (Gnocchi can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Be careful to not overwork the dough – this will make it tough.
To make the sauce: In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to create a roux and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add in milk, whisking to keep lumps from forming. Continue to stir while sauce starts to thicken. Once the sauce has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon, blend in crumbled Gorgonzola and Parmesan until the cheese has melted. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Preheat the broiler. Working in batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of simmering salted water until gnocchi float to the surface, about 3-4 minutes (depending on the size of the gnocchi). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to the skillet with cream sauce.
Place skillet under the broiler until the cheese sauce has started to brown. Remove from oven and top gnocchi with toasted walnuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese & Gorgonzola crumbles. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve!