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 :)