No, not them--though I do have fond memories of Doug and The Beets. Pre-network jump of course, like a true Child of the 90s. Once, as a Doug-watching young one, I loaded my plate full of pickled beets at a Ruby Tuesday's salad bar. I fully intended on falling madly in love with Doug Funnie's favorite food.
I highly underestimated the potency of the pickling.
The plate remained heaped after one biteful and a dissatisfied "yuck!" and I added beets to my short list of "Bee's Least Favorite Foods." It wasn't until years later that I discovered some beets of the non-pickled variety sprinkled on a salad with goat cheese. I took a tentative bite, expecting the bitter flavor I remembered but was met with a satisfying sweetness. It was amazing, elating, like finding a new love. The carrot's more attractive and delectable cousin that they'd been holding out on me.
I'd found my favorite vegetable. There was no turning back.
So when I stumbled upon a recipe for Roasted Beet Gnocchi, I knew I had to try it. Though I've still yet to master the true art of the gnocchi--I can't get them the right size at ALL and they come out a little bloated-looking--these didn't come out half bad. Aesthetics aside, they were pretty damn good, fluffy little dumplings with tiny chunks of delicious beets.
I decided the best dressing for a beet gnocchi would be a cream sauce, and what other cheese would be more appropriate than the beet's trusty partner in crime, goat cheese? And just to complete the metamorphosis from salad to pasta, I added a balsamic vinegar cabernet reduction to dip them in. And since I couldn't let the beet greens go to waste, I made a little side dish of wilted beet greens and baby bella mushrooms in garlic and balsamic vinegar.
Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Cream Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction with Wilted Beet Greens and Baby Bella Mushrooms
Adapted from Eat a Beet's Recipe
- 1 bunch of beets, scrubbed and greens cut off
- 1 lb reduced fat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (recipe calls for fresh, my wallet suggests Walmart brand)
- 1.5 cups flour, plus more to flour work surface
- salt and pepper, to taste
-Make a foil pouch for beets and cook in the oven at 450 for about an hour. Let cool to the touch and peel off skin.
-Mash two of the beets with a fork, or if you have one of these strange contraptions I found in my kitchen it works perfectly. Do not over-process in a food processor. You want the beets to be mashed throughly, but with some small chunks still visible. Measure out 2/3 cup, if you are short then mash another beet. Reserve extra beets for snacking on while you cook.
-Add ricotta, parm, and salt and pepper and mix until well blended. It should be bright pink with beet chunks.
-Add one cup flour and mix until combined. Slowly add the rest of the flour until a soft, pliable dough forms. Add more flour if dough is too sticky to roll. Roll gnocchi into little 1 inch nuggets. If you like, roll along the tines of a fork to make the traditional indentations.
-Drop completed gnocchis into a pot of boiling, salted water. Let cook in boiling water until they float, then cook for an additional minute or so until tender. Drain and serve.
For the Goat Cheese Sauce
Slightly Adapted from The Veggie Table's Recipe
- 1 small log of goat cheese (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp minced rosemary and thyme
- 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp cold water
- Salt and pepper to taste
-Melt goat cheese into half and half over medium heat. Add herbs and salt and pepper. If sauce does not thicken, slowly add corn starch mixture until desired thickness is reached, you may not use all the corn starch.
For the Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
Balsamic Wilted Beet Greens and Baby Bellas
Beet greens (the trimmed pieces from the beet gnocchi)
- 1 package baby bella mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbs Cabernet Sauvignon
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