Turnip, beetroot and potato gnocchi: Ah the mystery of root vegetables, we wonder as we stare at a bountiful pile of beautiful turnips and young beetroot (beets).
It’s not every day but sometimes here at The Big Dream Factory, we reach a state in which nothing can be created! Nothing! The brain doesn’t function and we wallow in our lack of enthusiasm. These moments are thankfully few and far between but hit us as we were washing our root vegetables. The thing is, at that moment we were feeling a little ‘burnt out’. The Big Dream Factory is growing faster than our little hands can fashion foods from dough. We work from home and that has become too small for storing all the necessary paraphernalia for producing our creations. We need a bigger house! And we have made steps to enlist the cooking and storage space of our local commissary kitchen. It’s the waiting that seems to be interfering with our creativity.
Waiting for the paperwork and for life to happen is of course a total waste of time. You have to take yourselves towards life and live it as best you can. With that positive thought and the washing of the root vegetables over, it was time to grasp life and root veggies with a firm grasp and say ‘let’s have a bit of fun experimenting!’
And so it came to pass that our turnip, beetroot and potato gnocchi came together. The thing about making gnocchi is to have a nice balance between the amount of flour and the amount of vegetables so that the gnocchi are not too stodgy. So for this experiment we used durum wheat flour, the same flour we use for making our pasta. It worked like a charm!
There is another thing to note about making gnocchi. It is often not useful to follow a recipe to closely, so this is a guide. Ultimately, your dough should be worked as quickly as possible and it will be a tiny bit sticky.
Ingredients for 4 – 6 people
- 2 medium size turnips, washed and peeled
- 4 medium size potatoes, washed peeled
- 4 – 6 young beets, washed and peeled (mine filled the palm of my hand once they were peeled)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup potato flour (not starch) or potato flakes
- 1 cup semolina durum wheat flour
- All purpose flour for rolling and forming gnocchi
- Slice the turnips and potato to equal size and add to a pot of salted cool water, enough to just cover them. Add the beets.
- Bring the vegetables to a boil until fork-tender, then drain and mash.
- Pour the mashed vegetables out onto a clean work surface and spread it out. Leave it to cool until you can work it with your hands.
- Sprinkle half of the potato flour and half of the semolina flour and mix with the vegetables to begin to form a dough.
- When the mixture is cool, add the egg and continue to mix into the dough using your hands.
- Add as much of the flour as needed to take up the moisture until you have formed a soft and very lightly sticky dough. TIP: The more you work the dough, the more moisture the potatoes will leak. This is why we create a lightly sticky dough to avoid adding too much flour.
- Cover the dough with a mixing bowl and leave to stand for 20 – 30 minutes. Meanwhile clean the work surface and sprinkle with a little all purpose flour.
- Using small amounts at a time, roll the dough into long, finger-width rolls. Dust your hands and the work surface with all purpose flour to help you achieve this if the dough seems too sticky.
- Now cut finger-tip sized gnocchi and toss them into a little flour then set them to one side and keep working. TIP: you can leave your gnocchi simply cut, roll them over the tines of a fork or in the palm of your hands to forms small balls (which is what we did).
- If you are not ready to cook the gnocchi you can do one of two things:
- 1) Lay them on a baking sheet covered in parchment sprinkled in a little all purpose flour and place them in the fridge.
- 2) Do as number 1) and place them in the freezer. Once the gnocchi have frozen you can bag them into bags and store them in the freezer until you are ready for them.
To cook you gnocchi whether from fresh or frozen, the procedure is the same: Bring some lightly salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook until they float. Remove the gnocchi to the sauce of your choice and serve immediately, or once you have boiled them you can fry your gnocchi like we did, serve them with steamed golden beets, drizzled with balsamic glaze: