Here I am mid-February, staring at a list of tasks. I had big plans as well to shoot five new recipes for the month ones that are inspired by love. Instead, I am here sulking quietly to myself as I only have this one. Not a bad one trust me but it is only one. I probably didn’t let you down as much as I have let myself down. Enough self-pity, I am still happy to share this Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Mascarpone Sauce recipe with you, and just in time for you to make it for your Valentine.
Last fall I fell back in love with making quick and easy gnocchi, and ever since it has become a fall back on the recipe as long as there is a stash of ricotta in the fridge. While I love potato-based gnocchi which takes more time, I like to fall back on an easy ricotta based recipe. I always have ricotta tucked away.
This particular recipe came about as I had a stash of beets and gorgonzola in the fridge. We are big beet eaters in the winter when they are at their prime. I prefer to roast them not only for this recipe but just in general. Roasting enhances its earthy flavor. I find that boiling beets kills any flavor that they may have. Little known fact, Lenny did not like beets until I roasted some for him. Now he is a huge beet lover!
The sauce for this gnocchi recipe evolved over the course of a couple of weeks of testing out the recipe. At first, I only used gorgonzola, then I had some leftover mascarpone and tossed it in. The sauce was even more rich and creamy; the perfect complement to the earthy beets.
We also tried mixing greens along with the gnocchi, both arugula, and tender beet greens. Both were overpowering, and why would we want that when there was so much flavor already. We wanted this gnocchi recipe to stand up on its own and it does perfectly as pillows of dough and gooey warm cheese sauce. What could be more romantic?
Couple things to keep in mind when you make this recipe:
- Roast the beets the day before making the gnocchi, this way they have some time to cool down. Also, roasting the beets is the only way to go. If you boil them the dough will be too soft.
- You may have to knead a little more flour into the dough if the beets tend to be moist. Use 00 flour as the gnocchi are not as dense as they come out when using AP flour.
- This recipe makes enough for 4 people so I freeze half of them if wanting a lighter and more romantic dinner for two.
Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Mascarpone Sauce
3 small beets, scrubbed clean
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons 00 flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest, from organic lemon or a well-scrubbed lemon
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mascarpone
2 ounces gorgonzola
Roast the beets the day before or earlier in the day – allow enough time too cool.
Preheat the oven to 425. Wrap the beets and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in foil and place in the oven. Cook until fork-tender; between 25 – 40 minutes. The time depends on how big the beets are.
Cool the beets, then peel the skin off using a small sharp knife. Place the beets into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Measure out 1/2 cup of beets. If you have extra kept for another recipe – toss into a smoothie or mix with pasta, herbs, and ricotta. Or even add to a salad.
Place the beets, ricotta, parmesan cheese, flour, lemon zest, and egg into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork or your clean hands. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
Let the dough sit for 15 minutes.
Clean your work surface and dry well. Lightly sprinkle a little 00 flour over the surface. If the dough is sticky work a little more flour into it – I start with a teaspoon and add as needed. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 1/2” rope, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces of gnocchi. After cutting the dough you can opt to use the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board to make grooves into each piece or leave as little pillows. Completely up to you.
Set the gnocchi pieces onto a baking sheet that has been lightly covered with semolina flour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water when they rise to the surface, let cook for another minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. I lay them onto a paper towel to drain.
Make the Sauce:
In a small saucepan melt, the butter then whisks in the flour. Add the milk and mascarpone and whisk until smooth. Stir in the gorgonzola.
To serve place gnocchi onto a plate and top with the sauce. Add more grated parmesan cheese if your heart desires.