I make ricotta gnocchi fairly frequently. I make big batches of them and freeze them in single serving bags. That way when I want a fast meal, I can boil the gnocchi and toss them with some greens and goat cheese for dinner.
I was recently inspired by a crispy horseradish gnocchi recipe at the Lemon Fire Brigade that used potatoes and wheat flour, but I ended making the same gluten-free ricotta gnocchi that I always do (from the excellent cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga), with the addition of grated fresh horseradish.
Ideally, you eat these spicy little morsels on a big bed of earthy beet greens with just a little touch each of goat cheese (for tang), golden raisins (for sweetness) and crisp pancetta (for richness)
I do feel that I should warn you that grating a half pound of fresh horseradish is a bit punishing. A food processor would have been very helpful here. Also they are spicy! You could cut the horseradish down by half and still get the flavour, but without so much heat.Usually you form gnocchi by making the dough into ropes which are cut into the little cylinders. The texture from the horseradish gets in the way of rope formation, so I found it easier to divide the dough into equal lumps and form them individually. Despite the grating and individually forming the gnocchi, this would be good entrée to serve at a small dinner party. You can make the gnocchi and freeze them in advance and the rest of the dish would come together very quickly.
CRISPY HORSERADISH GNOCCHI WITH BEET GREENS, GOAT CHEESE AND PANCETTA
Makes 24 gnocchi (6 generous servings or 8 dainty ones)
- 8 oz ricotta ( 1 heaping cup packed)
- about 1/2 pound finely grated fresh horseradish (one root from tip to top)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup quinoa, buckwheat or amaranth flour (buckwheat? amaranth?)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 1 clove of garlic minced (optional)
- The beet greens from 6 to 9 beets (2 or 3 bunches), washed and chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins or sultanas
- 3 or 4 oz chevre (or some other tangy goat cheese)
- Combine the ricotta, grated horseradish and egg yolks in a big bowl. Add the brown rice flour potato starch and Quinoa flour (or some other flavourful whole grain flour) along with the salt. Mix the dough with your hands until it is well combined and holds together when pressed.
- Start bringing a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Break the dough into four large lumps. Divide one lump into four smaller lumps and then each of those into three little lumps. The first lump of dough should form 12 equal lumps. Mold the dough into short lumpy cylinders with your hands.
- When the water has boiled, drop the first 12 gnocchi into the pot and let them cook until they float. Keep your eye on them while form and shape 12 lumps form the second quarter of the dough. When the gnocchi float, scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon and set them aside while you form and boil the remaining batches of gnocchi. At this point ,you can spread the gnocchi out on a baking tray and freeze them. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag until you are ready to serve the dish. If you want to finish the dish right away, just continue without freezing the gnocchi.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, fry the cubed pancetta over medium high until it is crisp. Scoop the crispy pancetta out of the oil and drain on a towel.
- Throw the minced garlic (if using) in to the hot oil from the pancetta and let it sizzle for a few seconds before adding the washed, chopped beet greens and golden raisins. Give it a couple of stirs and cover the pot. Cook the greens until they are just wilted and tender and the raisins have plumped up a bit.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer. Turn the gnocchi every few minutes until it is golden and crispy on all sides.
- Top the beet greens with some lumps of tangy goat cheese, the horseradish gnocchi and the crisp pancetta and serve immediately.
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