Friday, June 26, 2009

Playdough Pasta!?

I've been craving gnocchi for a while and finally I broke down
and made some. Alright, when am I ever known to follow the
original instructions or recipes &c &c &c.
I had tried to make some sweet potato gnocchi a long long
time ago and it came out terrible. However, that was most
likely due to the fact that I tried to use yellow Okinawa
potatoes, which are much more dry than the typical sweet
potatoes that you and I eat at thanksgiving.

It was also one of the first times I made gnocchi from
scratch, so I worked and worked and finally conquered the
basic gnocchi magic. Now I felt ready to experiment again.
Hey, we're just adding a root vegetable right? Potatoes?
Well why not try another lovely root.

Beets certainly got me through my lunches at school this
past semester. I was always making my purple root salad.
Ah, the best. I think I may have to make some more soon!

Anyway, beets were the choice and here were the results...

Playdough Pasta

1 1/3 cup pastry flour
1 cup of beet puree
a pinch of each salt and pepper
Combine just short of all the
flour with beets and salt and
pepper in a food processor or
a large bowl. Process or mix
with a knife until dough is formed.
Add the remaining bit of flour
and a little more if needed.

Toss it out on to a floured counter
top and knead it until it appears

This is the best part and totally surprised me.
The dough looks like a giant lump of bright pink
playdough! Ha ha, I was giggling the whole time
I was kneading away. Who says we can't play
with our food! I demand to know!

Now, let it rest. Seriously, allowing the dough to
rest at this point will yield a smoother pasta in the
end, but if you're in a big freakin hurry than don't
worry about it. But if you are, you probably
shouldn't be trying to make pasta from scratch.

Now here is the tricky part. Making gnocchi
is a kind of art. Split up the dough into however many sections. Roll those pieces out into
1/2-1 inch ropes. Cut ropes in to little pieces about 3/4" thick. Take a fork and roll the little pieces against the fork to make ridges that will hold in some of the sauce. Keep practicing it
took me forever to get the hang of it, but now its a piece of cake...

Now gnocchi is just the shape that I chose. You may follow
any pasta making technique you want and turn this into some
beet linguini or angel hair, whatever!

While this is all going on, have a large
pot of salted water boiling on the stove.
When your gnocchi is prepped go ahead
and drop them in. Give them a little stir
to make sure they don't stick to the bottom
or each other.

Keep it boiling and cook the little guys until
they are tender the whole way through. They
will rise to the top when they are pretty much done.

Remove and place in a baking pan in a warm oven until all are cooked. Toss with your
favorite sauce. Here I used Lindsey Wagner's Orange-Apple Tomato Sauce from
High Road to Health. Absolutely delish.

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