Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beets Incognito Trial #1 - Gnocchi with Sage Cream sauce

Boyfriend loathes beets.  I was roasting some the other day and he said that the smell alone made him nauseous.


Because I get a lot of beets in my CSA box this time of year.

The difficult thing about trying to sneak beets into food is that they turn everything bright pink/red.  Its a dead giveaway!!  And for the life of me I can't think of very many pink/red meals where you might not notice the color change from the beets.  Meatloaf maybe?  But eww... meatloaf...  I mean seriously people, its a loaf of meat.  I don't know how that meal ever became famous.  Although, it did originate in the days of tuna casserole, spam burgers, and jello molds... so I'm guessing Americans were willing to try anything back in the day.

Sorry, I got off on a little tangent there.

Man, I'm really hoping to get some golden beets soon because I think they'll be easier to mix into other foods unnoticed.  For reasons of color (not red) and flavor (milder than regular beets).

Last year I made beet bread that turned out OK.  This was, however, back when I truly believed I couldn't bake a loaf of bread to save my life.  I might try it again this year now that I have more experience and a KitchenAid mixer....

So, even though he'll probably guess that there is something different about this meal, I figured I'd give it a try anyway.  I've made sweet potato gnocchi before, why not beet gnocchi?  Maybe I'll just lie a little and say I dyed them pink with food coloring to show how much I loooove him. Puh-leese, he'll never buy that, it's way too sappy.  I don't even pull out that much sap during Valentine's Day.

Sorry sorry... distracted again... back on task:

Making the gnocchi:
I've tried making potato gnocchi in the past.  It was good, light, fluffy, etc.  I just screwed it up in the end with some too-aggressive sauce mixing which resulted in turning my beautiful gnocchi pillows into lumpy mashed potatoes.  With Gorgonzola cream sauce.  So, not a total failure seeing as anything covered in Gorgonzola cream is damn tasty.

Still, I'm feeling culinary-confident these days, so why not try some ricotta "gnudi" instead of potato gnocchi?  North vs South, baby (Italy, that is).

I mixed together 1 package (4oz?) of Vermont Creamery Goat cheese and the remainder of my homemade ricotta (3/4C?) in the KitchenAid along with 2 eggs, some S&P, and a pinch of nutmeg

I then added 1 cup of roasted, peeled and pureed beets:

The final addition is 2 cups of flour in 1/2 cup increments until a loose, sticky dough formed.  I tried not to overknead it, but this was a super-wet dough and I think I may have used more flour than I wanted to.  Anyway, HEAVILY flour your work surface and roll handfuls of the dough into a long snake:

Then, I just cut 1" pieces down the length of the "snake" and indented with a fork for that traditional "gnocchi" look:

I agree, these aren't the prettiest things ever, and I was still crossing my fingers that they would turn out ok despite the "heavy" flouring.

I dumped my gnudi (in batches) into a pot of salted boiling water and waited until they floated to the surface.  Once floating, I let the cook another minute or so then removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on a baking sheet to dry a little.

I wanted to give them a little texture and decided to pan fry them in some butter and olive oil to crisp them up:

Once they were "crisped", I took them out of the pan, and added 1 tbsp of flour and a little more butter to make a roux for my cream sauce.  Wow, I just realized how terribly unhealthy this dinner turned out to be....  I added 3/4 C milk to my roux and some fresh sage and whisked over medium heat until it thickened up, similar to making a bechamel.

Season with a little salt and pepper, and pour over the gnudi.  Served with homemade bread (toasted) and some wine. 

And the best part?  Boyfriend liked it!  Ate the whole thing, didn't even flinch.  I never said a word... well... until now [insert sneaky grin here]

Another bonus: I'll quickly discover whether or not he actually reads my blog as he claims :)

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