Friday, October 30, 2009

Carrot Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Gnocchi, the tender little Italian dumplings, usually consist of cooked potatoes and flour. I see winter squash gnocchi here and there, but hadn't thought of making gnocchi with carrots until I saw the recipe in Marcella Says... , from Italian cooking jedi master Marcella Hazan. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, since boiled and especially roasted carrots develop such a sweet, squash-like flavor.

Hazan found carrot gnocchi in Friuli in northeastern Italy, and compares them favorably to pumpkin gnocchi in Venice. I adapted the recipe to omit an egg yolk, some cheese, and butter. The gnocchi binded well without the egg and cheese, and olive oil was an even match for the butter.

I first boiled the carrots until very soft, then sauteed them with onion in olive oil, until the onions were lightly browned and the carrots beginning to brown. Then they're pureed in a food processor, scraping the sides several times to make as smooth a puree as possible. Carrots aren't quite as amenable as squash or potato to pureeing, so it pays to put a little time into it.

The carrot-onion puree is seasoned with a little salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Make a gnocchi dough by adding tablespoons of all-purpose flour until you have a very soft dough. I got by with about six tablespoons.

Hazan's method for cooking these was new to me too. First the gnocchi are boiled like dumplings for just a little while (she calls for only a few seconds, but I left them in for a minute or so), and then plunged in ice water. You do this a few gnocchi at a time, which keeps the boiling water from dropping in temperature. After they're all boiled, they're tossed with olive oil and sage leaves, and baked for about 10 minutes in a 400 F oven.

Here they are out of the oven. I coated them with a pesto of fresh basil, lemon juice, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. The contrast of sweet gnocchi with the lemony basil pesto was memorable, until I make my way to Friuli someday :)

14 comments:

magdelene said...

i've never even tried normal gnocchi before...i think i'm missing out!

<3 maggie

Anna said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to try these out!

Anna
www.TwoBlueLemons.com

The Voracious Vegan said...

That first picture is overwhelming! Seriously, you've got a winner with this recipe. Those colors, those flavors, I can only imagine how delicious this would be.

Jenn said...

Yum, those gnocchi look amazing. I've never tried baking them before.

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Gorgeous! And impressive that you made your own gnocchi.

Pomegranate said...

Wow!!

Nanette said...

I have to try this - your photos are so enticing!

aredcardigan said...

hahaahhaha love your wit!
"Italian cooking jedi master Marcella Hazan".

Her basic tomato sauce saved my life.

I don't have time to cook much lately plus I have lost my cooking mojo...would you please be a kind friend and zap some over to me.

Thanks!

:)

Elilai said...

This looks delicious! I must "follow" you so that I can get more great recipes :)

elilaiann.blogspot.com

Theresa said...

I love the idea of carrot gnocchi, and it makes me realise the possibilities for gnocchi.... imagine beetroot gnocchi!

Casey said...

Yum Yum and did I negect to mention YUUUUMMMM! I have a bunch of carrots in the fridge begging to jump into this colourful dish. Good timing Mike! Keep 'em coming.

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Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

This looks great.

Suzy Homemaker said...

I loved the Domenica Marchetti version of these. They're not vegan (lots of cheese) but I loooved the idea of using carrots for gnocchi!