Beetroot & Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Not sure how many people there are that don’t love pasta, I certainly do. And even though I could probably have all your more typical shapes like spaghetti, penne, fusilli, and so on pretty much daily, gnocchi are a nice change, offering a completely different texture, and since you can add different root veggies into the dough, they not only have a very cool colour but also feel way less naughty. You can make a big batch of these, freeze them, and they are cooked in no time when you want to have them. I used one sweet potato and one beetroot for this recipe, but you can do them just with sweet potatoes, only with beetroot or even with potatoes or other roots. Ricotta is optional here, you might need to add a little bit more flour if using it. A note on the dough – it will feel a bit sticky, but we want our gnocchi super light and fluffy. Just make sure your surface on which you shape them is covered with flour well, so they don’t stick to it. That way we are only adding more flour to the surface of each little pillow and not in the dough, which will give us the desired texture. I tried taking many photos of the in between stages, so scroll down for those. Gnocchi will go well with different sauces, especially slightly creamy ones, or simply pan fried on some ghee, with sage leaves, fresh goat’s cheese, pine nuts and parmesan. I quite like them pan-fried, and tossed with some halved, oven baked Brussels sprouts with salt, pepper and thyme, topped with a generous serve of grated parmesan and pine nuts or walnuts.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1.5 cup flour (I used white 00) + extra for surface
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Peel the beetroot and sweet potato, and cut the beet into 2x smaller chunks as the sweet potato as it need longer to cook. Put all the chunks in a small pot, cover with water and let it simmer for 35min.
  2. Drain the sweet potato and beetroot and blend until you get a very smooth puree. Let it res until completely cold.
  3. If using a self-standing mixer, add all the ingredients – puree, flour, salt, egg and ricotta – in the bowl and with a hook attachment knead on medium for 3min or until it all forms a uniform looking dough. It should still feel quite sticky but not completely wet. To make them super fluffy and light, we are aiming for a dough that is as sticky (meaning has as little flour) as possible, and we will make shaping easier by flouring the surface well. *(If you don’t have a self-standing mixer, you can knead it by hand on your bench, put the flour first, and make a small well in the he middle into which you will add the rest of the ingredients.)
  4. Once you have your dough ready, tip it out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 10 chunks and sprinkle them all with some extra flour. (Knife will work too if your surface allows it)
  5. Roll each chunk into a long snake shape, depending on how big you want your gnocchi to be. Aim to have all your snakes of a similar width.
  6. Using a bench scraper, cut each snake into 1.5-2cm long chunks. The pressure of the scraper you’re using to cut them will give then that typical pillow-like gnocchi shape.
  7. You can cook these straight away but I like to freeze them so I have a batch ready to go whenever I want. If freezing, cover a baking tray or multiple plates that fit in your freezer with baking paper, and spread the gnocchi all over, not cramping them too much. Freeze for an hour and then transfer into zip-lock bags or other air-tight containers. You can keep them for up to 3 months.
  8. When cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil and add the gnocchi. Once they come to the surface and float, keep cooking them for another minute, then strain.
  9. You can have them with your favourite sauce, but to make them even better, I love pan-frying them on some ghee, flipping them around so they get really crispy on all sides and then have them with a sauce or just some crispy sage leaves, fresh goat’s cheese, pine nuts and parmesan.

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