Thank you friends and foodies for all the nice thoughts about our dinner, and support for saving our beloved strip of trees!
Oh, I cooked for three days and sweated and calculated and worried, and in the end CrankyGreg and I produced a three course plated dinner for 41 neighbors, friends and well-wishers.
The only thing we ran out of must have been the best thing, it seems to me, and so that’s the recipe I’ll post first. I was so excited to make this as part of the big feast, even though I had to buy (local) beets since the ones in the cohousing garden remain kind of puny.
Z. has a current love affair with all things pink and purple, and I had chosen this with him in mind. He squealed adorably when I showed them to him while I was making them, and could barely keep his tiny little hands off the tray of magenta balls of goo.
I know: you don’t have any plans to slave stoveside with steaming pans or fuss with handmade pasta. I agree with you. But you should do it anyway because this is so darn good.
From The Recipe Files
- 1 medium or two small red beets, washed
- 1 pound ricotta, set in cheesecloth-lined colander set in a bowl and allowed to drain for a day
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese plus more for the table
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dredging
- Chevre cream sauce (recipe below)
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley for serving
Place clean beets with their skins on inside a baking dish with a snug-fitting cover. Bake in 450 degree oven until tender, 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from oven, remove lid and let beets cool. Slip the skins off with your hands. Grate the beets into a mixing bowl on the large hole of a box grater. [I questioned grating rather than pureeing, but concluded that it may matter to have the extra structure that having shreds would provide.] Add the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt and freshly ground black pepper to the beets. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add 2/3 cup flour to the ricotta mixture and whisk together to mix. Set the mixture aside for a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator. Can be made up to two days ahead.
While the gnocchi dough is resting, go ahead and make the Chevre Cream Sauce.
- 2 T. butter
- 4 T. unbleached flour
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 6 oz. chevre, broken or sliced into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 t. salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1/2 t. smoked paprika
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and then slowly and thoroughly whisk in the flour. Cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cream, beating thoroughly after each addition to prevent lumps. Bring to a slow but steady boil, then turn down and simmer for one minute or until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in goat cheese a little bit at a time. Whisk, whisk, whisk until thoroughly melted and incorporated. Add nutmeg, garlic and smoked paprika. Place aside to keep warm while you form and cook the gnocchi.
Back to the gnocchi: I’m writing in the instructions I followed for making them, but let me tell you that mine were really unattractive, like a platter of gizzards once cooked. You surely are more dextrous than I am and will end up with something beautiful. But just in case, here’s a link to alternate instructions for making them.
To form the gnochetti roll a walnut-sized piece of beet mixture into a nice [whatever] round. Drop it into the bowl of flour, carefully turning to coat all sides. Lay each dumpling on a parchment lined baking sheet lightly covered with flour. Continue forming the Gnochetti until all the mixture is gone. Slip the gnocchi into a pot of gently simmering salted water [this is important since a big old energetic rolling boil can bubble your poor little dumpling to smithereens]. Wait until they float to the surface of the water and continue to cook for an additional minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water as they are done and place them on a serving platter.
When all are cooked and are on the platter top with the cream sauce and parsley and serve.