When I was a little girl, I was not exposed to many vegetables outside of canned corn, canned green beans, mashed potatoes, and frozen broccoli or cauliflower topped with cheddar cheese sauce. I was a horribly picky kid raised by two picky adults. I ate many meals that consisted of canned soup, Top Ramen, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches..... and Kiddie Cuisines. Anyone else remember those atrocious TV dinners marketed towards kids? They always included a microwaved brownie, that had a few stray pieces of corn in the centers. Yeah I loved the heck out of those.
Probably the only unprocessed, healthy food that I LOVED as a kid, was beetroot. My mom always called them "nature's candy" and would boil the crap out of them, and then serve them to me with a bit of salt.... and I loved them. Today beets are my favorite food, and I love them prepared any which way. Whether it be a raw beet salad, roasted in olive oil and sea salt, or pureed into a dough, beets are indeed nature's candy.
I am especially fond of using beet root puree in pasta recipes. It gives the dough such an amazing bright, spring color. This recipe tastes light and refreshing, is easy to prepare, and is the perfect comfort dish for any spring dinner!
Ricotta and Beetroot Gnocchi
1 lb of roasted beetroot, peeled
1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup or whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
up to 2.5 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (additional flour for rolling)
For the sauce:
3/4 cup butter, browned
The juice of one lemon
1 tbs lemon zest
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish
Add beets, lemon juice, ricotta, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the beet mixture, and mix on medium speed, adding flour 1/4 cup at a time. Once the dough has come together and is smooth, and only slightly sticky, remove it from the mixer and allow to rest, covered for about 1 hour on the counter. ( I leave it in the mixing bowl)
Divide dough into 3-4 pieces, and start to roll them on a floured surface to form long logs about 1 inch in diameter.
Cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll down a gnocchi board or fork to create the traditional gnocchi shape (optional).
Allow the gnocchi to dry for about 1 hour on a lightly floured surface.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add gnocchi a few pieces at a time. Boil until they float to the top, about 1-2 minutes.
Drain the gnocchi, and toss with browned butter, lemon juice, zest, garlic and walnuts. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with fresh greens.