cook this / beet gnocchi with brown butter & crispy sage

Hi, and happy Monday! Hopefully you managed to dig yourself out of the snow and made it to work or school safely. Did everyone have a fun Superbowl Sunday?

We are getting close to Valentine's Day, and I want to share a delicious, hearty winter meal that can double as a Valentine's Day dinner. It's a MAGENTA meal :) almost too pretty to eat!

I have always had a thing for gnocchi. The pillowy texture melts in your mouth, and it is just. so. good. I've always gone the store-bought route, for fear of spending hours on homemade gnocchi, only to ruin it. Well, a few months ago I went to the market and bought a ton of local beets. Feeling adventurous, I decided to try out homemade beet gnocchi. I have to admit, I was incredibly intimidated. I read a million and one recipes, compared techniques and ingredient lists, and decided to go for it - knowing full well I'd have a meltdown if things didn't turn out well. Obviously I wouldn't share the recipe, and the meltdown, if things went poorly... and they didn't! Gnocchi (well, beet gnocchi) is so easy to make! I couldn't believe it. Sure, there are a ton of variations out there that may be more complex, or more authentic, but mine came together quickly and easily. Not to mention, beautifully! I'm obsessed with the magenta color of beets, so just use your imagination to picture my happy dance when I was rolling out MAGENTA gnocchi dough. Heaven!

The texture of the beet gnocchi is a little more dense and chewy than a traditional store-bought gnocchi because there are no potatoes in this recipe. If you want a more pillowy, light and fluffy texture, try this recipe. This is a perfect recipe to try out during a lazy weekend before wowing your family and friends with your culinary abilities. The gnocchi freezes well, so you can try out a few different sauces each time.

I decided to make a simple brown butter sage sauce to avoid overpowering the flavor of the gnocchi. The roasted beet flavor paired with the crispy, rich brown butter sage sauce is earthy, savory and delicious. If you're feeling resourceful, make a beet green pesto instead! I had good intentions of making the pesto first, but the brown butter sage sauce sounded too delicious to pass up. Try this easy recipe for beet green pesto.

Beet Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Crispy Sage

Beet Gnocchi
4 small beets, or 2 large ones (reserve the beet greens for juicing, blanching, or making homemade pesto!)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 1/4 c. - 1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Brown Butter Sage Sauce
4 T. unsalted butter
10 small sage leaves (fresh)
Grated parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove stems and greens from beets. (Set aside if you plan to use them for pesto, juicing, etc.)
Scrub beets, dry them, and toss them in 1 T. olive oil. Place them on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour.

Once the beets are done roasting, puree them in a food processor or Vitamix. If the beets are organic, keep the skins on for added nutrients. If not, carefully remove the skins before pureeing.

Let the beet puree cool for about 30 minutes (place in refrigerator to speed up the process). Add 1 cup of the beet puree to a large bowl, and mix in egg, parmesan, salt, and 1/2 cup flour. Continue adding flour until the mixture forms a dough. Liberally flour your working surface (and hands) and divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll each ball into a long rope, about 1" thick. Slice your gnocchi about 1" wide, and roll each gnocchi onto the backside of a fork to create indentations. (These indentations hold the sauce better!) Repeat with each ball of dough.

It kind of looks like a sticky heart... (not the cute kind; the organ kind)

It kind of looks like a sticky heart... (not the cute kind; the organ kind)

Place a sheet of wax paper on a roasting pan and place gnocchi in rows. I found that it was easiest to press the fork into the gnocchi on the pan and reshape if necessary (some of the gnocchi got very flat and very sad, so I had to smush them back together). Set the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Beets7.jpg

If you plan to freeze half the batch, stop at this step. Put the gnocchi in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 30 days.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

**Feel free to pat yourself on the back, skip around your kitchen full of glee, and treat yourself to a glass of wine (if you weren't already drinking one)... you did it!!!! Gnocchi isn't as terrifying to prepare as it seems!**  

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the sage leaves and cook for about 3 minutes, or until butter turns a light brown and sage leaves are crispy. Season with cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup).

Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until gnocchi floats to the top of the water. Drain, and add to brown butter sage sauce. Optional: add the cooked gnocchi to the brown butter sauce and cook until edges of the gnocchi are crispy. Serve immediately. Enjoy!