Beet and Potato Gnocchi with Mint Hazelnut Pesto
So, I’ve had one of those ‘a-ha!’ moments today! You know, those times when whatever it was you were stressing about is put to rest because you have come into a realization?
Well, I have been
obsessing stressing out about my food photographs on the web. I recently started shooting in RAW format (with lots to learn still), but then realized that the quality of my photographs was different – more washed out, if you may – when seen on the web. This inconsistency drove me crazy!
Then, I learned – thanks to Lara Ferroni‘s Food Photography book – that I needed to edit my settings in Photoshop “Convert to Profile” function. I’m a Mac user and I edit on Photoshop with Adobe RGB (1998) color profile (something I just learned now). Sure, my images look good on my finder and my Photoshop, but when I look at them from the browser, there were obvious disparities. Lara’s advice was to stick to a more generic color profile like sRGB or Generic RGB – and so I changed my settings, and I really noticed the difference! Now the dilemma is…should I go back to each image and convert every one of them? Oh boy, that’s going to be a big job!
That was my ‘a-ha!” moment of the day, but let’s move on to food!
I’ve only recently started appreciating beets. Here’s a creative way to cook them. Make sure to use fresh beets for this recipe. Oh, by the way, this recipe is also gluten free!
My kids love the brilliant colour of beets. In fact, it is the beets’ brilliant colour that reflects the richness of their phytonutrients (betalaine), which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties. Beets are a key player in “juicing” and preventing cancer.
The best way to preserve the nutrients and enzymes in these root vegetables is to cook them no longer than 15 minutes. However, my kids refuse to touch them when prepared this way. They are more likely to eat beets when made into gnocchi with potatoes. Mixing potatoes will help cut the beet’s earthy taste, making it more palatable for kids and non-believers.
As you can see, a former cynic (me) is now a converted believer! If you haven’t tried beets, this is a good introduction!
- 7 oz cooked beets, peeled and diced
- 14 oz baking potatoes like russet, peeled
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon brown rice flour (or white)
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut flour
- 1 egg
- ~~ For the pesto ~~
- 2 cups packed mint leaves
- ⅓ cup hard Italian cheese, such as Parmigiano or Pecorino
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- hazelnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wrap the beets in foil and bake them in 375 degrees F oven until cooked, about 45 minutes or until a tester can easily be inserted. Let cool before peeling the skins off. Set aside.
- Boil the potatoes until cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before peeling the skins off.
- With a ricer, mash the potatoes with the beets. If you don't have a ricer, try running them through a fine mesh sieve. Combine the mashed vegetables in a bowl.
- In another bowl, combine all the flours with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Add the mashed potatoes and beets, then the egg.
- Mix until just combines and turn dough out to a floured work area.
- Shape the dough until it forms a ball that is somewhat wet still. Do not over mix or add too much flour in.
- Divide the dough in 4 pieces and roll each into a log.
- Cut into small pieces and if preferred, roll on a fork or gnocchi paddle to make a design. At this point, you can freeze the prepared gnocchi for future use.
- If preparing now, drop gnocchi in salted boiling water until they rise to the surface.
- Scoop out and set aside on a plate.
- For the pesto, put the mint, cheese, hazelnuts, and garlic in the food processor.
- Pulse on high a few times until chopped, then stream the desired amount of oil through the feeder and whirl until puréed.
- Season pesto with salt and pepper.
- To serve, sauté the gnocchi with olive oil in a pan set to medium heat. Turn to a plate when heated and serve immediately.
- Spoon pesto on top or serve it on the side.