Here I am on February 10 staring at the list that I did not get too. I had big plans and ideas to shoot five new recipes that are inspired by love. Instead, I am here sulking that I only got to this one. Not a bad one but it is only one. I probably didn’t let you down as much as I have let myself down. Only February and I am kicking myself. 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 make 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 recipe as long as there is a stash of ricotta in the fridge. While I love potato-based gnocchi that takes more time, and when I want something a little more special I can whip up any flavor of gnocchi as long as my friend ricotta is hanging around.

This particular recipe came about as I also had a stash of beets and gorgonzola in the fridge. We are big beet eaters in the winter as they are at their prime. I prefer to roast them not only for this recipe but just in general as roasting enhances their 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 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 compliment to the earthy beets.

We also tried mixing greens along with the gnocchi, both arugula, and tender beet greens. Too overpowering, and why would we want that. 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. I found that each time I made when using roasted the dough still came out a little differently each time – you may have to knead a little more flour in. Use 00 flour as the gnhocchi are not as dense as they come out with 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

Ingredients:

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

1 egg

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

semolina flour

How To:

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 keep 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 whisk 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. Serve with an argula salad on the side.

Eat.

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