I haven’t spent much time on the allotment this year. What with opening up a cafe, settling into a rhythm of freelance work and just general family life it’s been hard to get there on a regular basis. My crops have suffered as a result but if there’s one veg that never lets me down it’s beetroot.
I planted quite a lot in late Spring and as I’ve run in and out with watering duty it’s caught my eye with a mental note of “I must pick some next time”. Well “next time” turned from days to weeks to a few months and when I finally got around to pulling it out last week, here are just some of the giants I found.
I have so many ideas for using up this bounty but the colour was just too irresistible for pasta again. Instead of beetroot tagliatelle like last time I opted for gnocchi as the leaves were good eating for a pesto. It was earthy as you’d expect, rather sweet and enormously filling.
[recipe title=”Beetroot Gnocchi” servings=”4-6″ time=”60 mins” difficulty=”Intermediate”] This recipe uses half the amount of beetroot to potatoes but you may need to play with the balance depending on how you cook your beetroot. I roasted mine so it was less watery.
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 500g beetroot
- 1kg floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper
- 500g OO grade pasta flour or plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1tsp fine table salt
To make the beetroot gnocchi
- Preheat the oven to 200C and oil a roasting dish.
- Peel and chop the beetroot into rough 2 inch chunks, rinse and then toss into the roasting tray. Make sure they are evenly coated in the oil and then roast for about 20-30 minutes til soft.
- Meanwhile peel and chop the potatoes in the same way, pop them into a saucepan, fill it with water and then boil them for about 20 minutes until soft.
- Drain the potatoes and mash them in a large bowl using a potato ricer so you get nice a smooth consistency. Set aside.
- Once the beetroot is cooked, puree it in a food processor, pass it through a sieve to remove large lumps and then add this to the mashed potatoes and mix together.
- Now add the 300g flour and the egg and start to combine it all together. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time until you have a nice firm dough which is not sticky. You might not need all the flour.
- Form the dough into a two equal ball shapes and then divide them again so you have four balls.
- Dust your work surface with a sprinkling of flour.
- Roll each ball of dough into a long sausage shape – the thickness will depend on how fat you want your gnocchi to be.
- Cut 1 inch chunks out of the dough sausages and there you have your little gnocchi ready to cook.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then drop a handful of gnocchi in at a time. They will float to the surface when they are done. You can then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and pop them into a warmed bowl while you cook the rest. I usually drizzle each batch with some olive oil so prevent any sticking together.
I served these tossed with beetroot leaf pesto which I made using about 20 beetroot leaves (around 500g), 200g sunflower seeds, 5-6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. I put all these ingredients into a food processor and whizzed them up to a nice puree. We also had some broad beans in the freezer so I scattered those on top too.
I’ve joined a few blogs in celebrating this abundance of extra veg in my kitchen this month. If you haven’t visited them before they’re full of lovely, easy ideas: Veggie Desserts, Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours