Gluten-Free Beet Gnocchi
adapted from La Tartine Gourmande
serves 4 as a main course or 6 as an appetizer
7 oz cooked, peeled beets (2 or 3 smallish beets)
14 oz peeled baking potatoes (2 medium sized potatoes)
1/3 cup quinoa flour plus more for dusting
1/3 cup potato starch
2 T corn starch
2 T almond flour
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup raw walnuts
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
zest of one small orange
zest of one small lemon
salt and pepper
Peel and dice the potatoes. Place them in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil, "steaming" them until soft, about 15 minutes.
Boil the beets whole, skin on, in salted water with a little white vinegar added to help retain the color. When a fork goes easily through each beet (about 40 minutes), drain and run under cold water. Peel the skins away with your fingers. You can do this the day before and store the beets in the fridge.
With a potato ricer, mash the beets and the potatoes into a bowl and mix well. (My ricer broke after I did the potatoes so I ended up dicing the beets and then running them through the food processor until pureed which worked well). Once well combined, turn the veggie mash onto a board which has been lightly floured with quinoa flour.
Make a hole in the middle of the mash and crack the egg into the hole. Mix the egg into the mash with a fork or your fingers. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the almond flour, corn starch, potato starch and quinoa flour and mix well. Add more quinoa flour as needed. The dough should be a little wet but should hold together.
Divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces. Working with one section at a time, roll each piece of dough into a long stick, about 1/2 an inch in diameter. Cut the stick at half inch intervals. You can leave the gnocchi as is, or, to get a nice pattern, roll each 1/2 inch piece along the tines of a fork before placing on a plate or wax paper-lined sheet tray. Repeat with each section of dough.
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water to boil, make the pesto.
Place the garlic, walnuts and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add cilantro and citrus zests. With the food processor running, pour olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
Once the water has boiled, cook the gnocchi in batches (no more than what would cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer) for just a few minutes. The gnocchi will rise to the surface when ready. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Top with Cilantro Walnut Pesto or sauce of choice, lots of fresh grated parmesan, and lots of fresh black pepper.
**In light of the current gluten-free craze, I have been reluctant to discuss it here or in person too much because, in my experience and in my opinion, no two people react quite the same way to gluten and I don't want to come across as endorsing one particular diet or another. Some people feel hale and hearty after a gluten-packed meal. Others feel bloated, cranky, head-achey, and even depressed. And a small percentage of the population has celiac disease which is a serious abnormal immune reaction to gluten. For those of you who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease but are curious about being gluten free, I suggest you experiment. Take note of how you feel right after, hours after and the day after a meal with gluten or a meal without it. Play around and remember that each meal you eat, no matter the composition, gives you more information about what your mouth likes, what your body's "machine" likes, and how you can find a way to feed both of them without leaving either feeling deprived.
I would love to hear about your experiences with gluten and/or gluten-free. And, as always, please feel free to ask me questions.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!