This is the other recipe I made at my cooking demo last Saturday, and I figured it’s time that I share it with you guys, too!
Pureed roasted beets and creamy tangy goat cheese come together for one of the easiest homemade pasta dishes you’ll ever tackle (promise!). Start with pureed roasted beets (make them yourself, buy them pre-roasted and peeled in those lovely little vacuum packs, or go ahead and use canned, if you’d like) and whisk in the cheese, an egg and some flour to bind it all together.
You only need about a half cup of the puree for a batch of pasta big enough to serve four. These freeze well, too, so even if it’s just you, I recommend making the whole thing and freezing the rest for easy meals the rest of the week.
The little dumplings are soft and cook up quickly once they’re done. I boil them and then crisp them just a bit in a skillet of hot browned butter gently scented with fresh herbs (sage and rosemary in this case, but go ahead and use what you have and what you like) and a little dash of nutmeg. Or you can skip the butter (though I never would) and just serve them with your favorite sauce...something creamy and cheesy perhaps, or savory and red and right out of a jar.
I first made these a while ago, back when Eugene and I started dating, but I’ve tweaked the recipe since and this is how I like it best. The beauty of it all is that you can play around with it until you find the way that YOU like it best. So use cream cheese instead of goat or ricotta if you prefer. If you don’t have (or don’t like) beets, try the same recipe with pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes. Make it in advance and freeze it until you’re ready to cook (a great trick for dinner parties and busy weeknight dinners), and then when you sit down with your glass of wine and everyone is about to dive in just casually let it drop that you made these. From scratch.
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Beet Goat Cheese Gnocchi in Rosemary & Sage Butter Sauce
For the gnocchi:
1/2 cup goat cheese (chevre)
1/2 + 2 tablespoons cup roasted beat puree (approximately 1-2
large beets, roasted, peeled, and pureed in food processor or blender)
1.5 cups all purpose flour (plus more for flouring boards)
1 whole egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
For the sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 bunch fresh sage
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt & pepper
1. In a large bowl, whisk the goat cheese until smooth. Add the beet puree and mix until evenly combined.
2. Whisk in the egg, followed by the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3. Slowly add the flour into the beet mixture, 1/4 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 – 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.
4. 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 by keeping your hands and the surface floured.
5. 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 1 inch. 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).
6. Place the formed gnocchi on a floured baking sheet. These can be frozen for later use or cooked right away.
7. 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.
8. While the gnocchi are boiling, heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat and melt the 1/2 stick of butter. Tear 5-6 fresh sage leaves in thirds and drop into the hot butter along with a tablespoon of fresh rosemary. Saute the herbs in the hot butter, letting the sage leaves crisp slightly. When the gnocchi are finished boiling, add them in batches to the hot butter and toast on each side for about a minute each. Repeat with each batch, adding more butter and herbs as necessary.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately with a drizzle of the butter sauce and a few of the crisped sage leaves scattered on top.
Cook's Note: These same gnocchi can also be served with other kinds of
pasta sauce such as marinara.