I’ve been wanting to make three ways of gnocchi for a long time, it’s one of those pictures I had in my head for a while, but never found the time or inspiration to actually make it. I’ve been planning to make beetroot, squash and spinach, however, having a fridge full of carrots after experimenting with carrot, ginger and turmeric smoothies and an oven-baked carrot and ginger soup, I just used carrots for the orange coloured gnocchi. Feel free to use either or the other, as well as you could substitute the spinach for chard, for instance.
The instructions below seem a little complicated, I admit that. However, it’s just one basic recipe for the dough, which then is divided into three parts to “dye“ the gnocchi accordingly. I recommend you use a food processor to make the dough. It is likely to be quite sticky, and I advise you to add as much flour as it requires until the dough forms one beautiful soft ball in the bowl of your processor.
Obviously, you can go for just one colour (or perhaps challenge yourself and make two? Come on, it’s so pretty!), simply account the amount of “colourful“ vegetables that is required. Trust me, you can’t do much wrong here – this recipe is bullet-proof, as you can just add as much flour as you need to make the dough shapeable. Finally, you will serve your homemade gnocchi with crispy sage and browned butter, lemon zest and grated parmesan cheese – so, honestly, I don’t think a dull November day’s meal could get any happier!
Homemade gnocchi three ways – with carrot, beetroot and spinach
For three – four servings.
1 large potato (about 300 grams)
250 – 300 grams all-purpose flour (start with 250 grams)
1 small egg, organic preferably
25 grams parmesan cheese, grated
150 grams ricotta cheese
Sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
For the ricotta and spinach gnocchi:
200 grams baby spinach
For the ricotta and beetroot gnocchi:
1 small beetroot (100 grams)
For the ricotta and carrot gnocchi:
1 large carrot (100 grams)
2 – 3 tablespoons butter
Small handful fresh sage leaves
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Lemon zest (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
To make the beetroot as well as for the carrot gnocchi, preheat the oven to 200°C (fan).
Remove the greens of the beetroot, brush it with olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil and place it on a baking tray.
Wash the carrot, remove the ends, slice it in halves lengths and cut it in half across. Brush it with olive oil, place it on the baking tray to the beetroot, transfer the tray in the oven.
Remove the carrot from the oven after 30 minutes, when it is soft and tender, bake the beetroot for 20 more minutes (50 minutes in total).
Transfer the carrot pieces to a food processor, purée until smooth.
Remove the foil from the beetroot, allow to cool slightly, then peel and roughly chop it. Transfer to a food processor and purée to a smooth mash.
To make the spinach gnocchi, rinse and drain the spinach. Transfer spinach to a big saucepan, and cook until wilted. Drain the spinach, and squeeze out any liquid. The spinach should be as dry as possible.
To make the homemade gnocchi batter, peel and chop the potato, transfer it to a small saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, until cooked. Allow to cool slightly, then rice the potato to a soft mash.
In a bowl, mix the potato mash, flour (start with 250 grams), egg, parmesan cheese, ricotta, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Knead the dough with your hands until it forms a soft dough ball. It should weigh about 750 grams by now.
Divide the dough into three equal-sized parts (each weighing 250 grams). To a food processor, add one third of the dough and the carrot purée, then process until the dough forms one soft ball. If it is too sticky, add as much flour as it requires to form a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, form little gnocchi and stamp a gnocchi pattern into the top of each gnocchi with the help of a fork. Set the gnocchi aside in the fridge and continue in the same way with the other ingredients: another third of the dough into the food processor with the beetroot purée, and finally the last third of the dough with the spinach. Don’t worry if the dough is sticky. Simply add more flour as you go, shaping gnocchi after gnocchi.
Fill a large saucepan with water, add some salt and bring it to a boil. Add one kind of gnocchi to the saucepan, and wait for the gnocchi to come up to the surface (this will take roughly five minutes, depending on the size of the homemade gnocchi). Remove the gnocchi, and proceed with the remaining two kinds in the same way.
Heat a large pan over medium heat, brown the butter, add the sage and allow it to become crisp, then toss the gnocchi in the butter. Arrange gnocchi on plates, top with sage leaves, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.