Feeling the naturally beautiful color of beets in these gnocchi tossed in an equally naturally bright green arugula-basil pesto.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, in recent years we tend to prefer avoiding the bustle of restaurants (despite their tantalizing special menus) and cook together at home instead. When we were dating long distance, cooking together was the most common thing we would do when we were actually together. Plus it’s nice to slow down and do something we love together and thus enjoy eating it even more.
I had been wanting to make beet gnocchi for a long time, and finally put it on the calendar for this past Friday night. I love how vibrant the beet color came through, despite requiring more flour than a 100% potato gnocchi. Between being a labor of love and that color, they are a perfect Valentine’s Day date night in option. Especially when paired with an equally vibrant arugula-basil pesto made with pistachios instead of pine nuts.
Four years ago: Wine Smoothies
Six years ago: Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Eight years ago: Nutella Recipe Roundup
Nine years ago: Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
BEET GNOCCHI WITH ARUGULA BASIL PESTO
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (freshly shredded is fine)
1-1/2 cups arugula
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shelled and roasted pistachios
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (or lemon pepper)
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lb. Russet potatoes
1 lb. beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- For the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic. Turn on and add cheese through the feed tube. Continue processing until cheese is finely chopped.
- Add arugula, basil, pistachios, salt and pepper. Process 2-3 seconds, then gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into an air-tight container, and top with a small amount of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For the gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork. Bake until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly.
- While the potatoes are baking, prepare the beets. Place beets in a pot with 2 cups water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft. Strain and blend beets in blender or food processor until smooth.
- When the potatoes are done, cut in half, scoop the flesh into a large bowl, and mash. Add the beets, egg, and salt and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1/2-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces.
- If desired, roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork using your thumb. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet lightly sprinkled with flour. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.*
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite; they will float when they are done. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Toss in arugula pesto and serve.
*If you would like to save some of the gnocchi for later, after forming the gnocchi, freeze on a cookie sheet in a single layer then transfer to a sealed freezer bag. When you want to cook them, proceed with directions, although they may take a tiny bit longer to cook.