Beets, spinach, goat cheese. I have had this combination in the form of a salad countless times. It's always wonderful. Slightly sweet beets, sharp goat cheese, and fresh baby spinach. A light lemon or balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for lunch or the start to a great dinner.
I love the way each flavor compliments each other, but wanted something more substantial. A hearty pasta, perfect for a cold rainy evening. I don't own a pasta maker, so my rolled and cut pasta is very very rustic, but I love to make and eat gnocchi. It's simple, delicious, and I always make a double batch and freeze half of the pasta.
Typically made with potatoes, this gnocchi is instead made with beets. I love beets. Red beets, golden beets, even beet greens. I've had beets in smoothies, I've juiced beets, I love them in a salad, as a side dish on a holiday. The only beets I don't care for are the ubiquitous canned beets that end up in a bowl at a holiday potluck. I'm not sure what happens in the canning process but it hijacks the loveliness of beets. Stay away from canned beets!
Start by roasting the beets. For this recipe I'm using golden beets; less risk of red-dyed fingers and cutting board, but regular red beets are great too. Just note that your gnocchi will be pink! Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops and tip off three medium sized beets and drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt. Roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Check your roasted beets regularly so they don't overcook. The first time I attempted this recipe I forgot about the beets...distracted by laundry I let them roast until they were leathery and unusable. We ordered pizza. Don't burn the beets!
When the beets have roasted, allow them to cool until they can be handled, about 10 minutes, and peel and slice them. Roasting the beets first means the outer peel is much easier to remove than if they were raw.
Place the roasted and chopped beets in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add one room temperature egg to the mixture and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Incorporate 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at at time to the mixture, quickly to avoid over mixing. Your gnocchi dough might need more or less flour depending on the size of your beets. The goal is a light smooth dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough into four sections. Roll each section into a long rope, about thumbs width. Cut the rope into individual pieces, about an inch in length. Using a fork, make indentations on one side of each gnocchi. This creates grooves for the sauce to adhere to. Place gnocchi on a non stick or parchment lined baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté one minced shallot and one clove of minced garlic until softened.
Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Add 1 bag of baby spinach (6 oz) to the pan and cook until wilted. Add 3 oz of chèvre, soft goat cheese. Chèvre usually comes in either a 4 oz or 8 oz package. Mix until the cheese is melted into the spinach and creates a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low to keep warm.
Working in batches, drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes. The pasta is done when they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them directly into the sauce. Continue until all the gnocchi have been cooked. Toss well with the spinach goat cheese sauce.
Spoon the pasta into a warmed shallow bowl and season with fresh cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Beet Gnocchi with Spinach and Goat CheeseBy Land of Noms, April 04, 2015
- 3 medium sized red or golden beets
- Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of flour plus more for rolling pasta
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine
- 6 oz package of baby spinach
- 3 oz of soft chevre goat cheese
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Trim beets and place in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt
- Roast beets until fork tender, 30-40 minutes depending on size
- Cool beets until they can be handled and peel and slice
- Puree beets in a food processor until smooth, add 1 egg and season with salt and pepper
- Add 2 cups of flour and mix until a light smooth dough has formed
- Turn out onto a floured work surface and divide dough into four equal portions
- Roll dough into a long rope, thumb width, and cut into inch long pieces
- Use a fork to create indentations on one side of each pasta and place on a non stick or parchment covered baking sheet
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt
- In a large pan, saute shallot and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Deglaze pan with white wine and add fresh spinach, cook until wilted
- Add chevre and melt into spinach and white wine until a creamy sauce has formed, season with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat
- Working in batches, cook pasta in boiling water 2-3 minutes; pasta will float to the surface when cooked
- Using a slotted spoon move cooked pasta directly from the boiling water into the sauce
- Continue until all the pasta has been cooked; toss well to cover with sauce
- Serve pasta in warmed shallow bowls with fresh cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!