In the Mood for Healthy Food
Gnocchi might not be the sort of thing you usually make from scratch but believe me – this recipe is well worth it. Not only does it look amazing but also the beetroot flavour works brilliantly, especially when served with the vibrant green homemade pesto.
SERVES 4 (or 6 as a first course) preparation time: 40 minutes cooking time: about 1 hour
You Will Need
To make the pesto, put the watercress and garlic in a food processor and blend until roughly chopped. Add the walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil and blend to a relatively smooth consistency. Add a little water if it seems a little too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a bowl and leave to one side.
Put the beetroot/beet and vinegar in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 45–60 minutes, or until the beetroot/beet is completely tender. Remove from the heat, peel off the skin and roughly chop. Blend to a smooth purée in a food processor.
Cook the potatoes in a steamer set over boiling water for 15–20 minutes until tender. Press through a potato ricer into a large mixing bowl or mash until very smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the beetroot/beet purée to the potato, along with the egg yolks, Parmesan, pepper and a good pinch of salt. Mix well, then gradually mix in the flour until the mixture starts to hold together without being too sticky. To test, gently press the dough with your finger. When it springs back, you won’t need to add any more flour.
Divide the dough into 4 portions. Take a portion of the mixture and roll into a long sausage shape, about 3cm/11⁄4in thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut into chunky nuggets using a floured knife. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over medium heat. Drop in the gnocchi and cook until they rise to the surface (about 2 minutes). Try not to overcrowd the pan – it may be best to cook them in a few batches.
When cooked, drain the gnocchi in a colander and toss in a little extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the pesto. Scatter with the toasted walnuts, a twist of black pepper and shavings of Parmesan cheese, and serve on their own or with salad leaves, if you like.