Friends who visit our kitchen soon become privy to two facts: One, the sparsely stocked fridge without fail has a bag of carrots and some version of greens hidden in the back recesses. Two, I LOVE LOVE LOVE making orange versions of gnocchi : sweet potato and butternut squash being favorites.
When the challenge was posted I decided to make a version of my everyday dinner stable. At first I was a tad concerned that carrots would not be able to rise to the challenge of prime gnocchi component. It seems that carrots are not nearly starchy enough. However, the results are fluffy, perhaps more dumpling in texture than traditional gnocchi, but absolutely tempting all the same.
In the recipe I attempted to incorporate an entire head of chard. As such, there is both a simple chard pesto as well as a quick chiffonade with bacon lardons to complete the dish. Hope you enjoy! —alyssalees
carrots ( peeled and chopped into chunks )
salt ( plus dash )
parmesan ( grated)
sage ( chopped )
1 and 1/4 cups
flour ( and up to 1/4 cup more depending on dough )
Chard Pesto and Chiffonade
slab bacon cut into lardons
(small ) shallot minced
1/4 - 1/2 cups
parmesan ( grated ) + a few larger pieces for serving
Place carrots, olive oil, and dash of salt/pepper inside a foil pouch ( aluminum foil folded into sealed container). Place pouch into 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until carrots are very tender.
Remove carrots from pouch and drain. Force carrots through ricer or fine strainer. ( Carrots can also be pureed after this step for finer texture ).
Mix carrots, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, white pepper, parmesan and sage in bowl. Using your hands, need in 1 and 1/4 cups of flour. If mixture is too moist add a bit more flour. Dough should be soft but not sticky.
Let dough rest for 30-45 minutes in a bowl convered with a damp cloth.
On a floured board, divide dough into four pieces. Roll pieces into ropes about 3/4 inch thick. Cut ropes into individual pieces of gnocchi. If decided, used the floured back of a fork make traditional gnocchi marks.
In salted boiling water, cook gnocchi about 2-3 minutes until the pieces float to the surface. Remove and strain.
Chard Pesto and Chiffonade
Remove stems from chard. Reserve two stems and 2-3 ( large) leaves. Blanche the remaining leaves in boiling water. Strain and place in ice bath.
In blender, chop pecans. Add lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, parmesan, salt/pepper to taste and blanched chard leaves. Pulse. In stream add olive oil until pesto reaches desired consistency.
Chiffonade remaining leaves of chard. Finely slice reserved stems.
Heat skillet with dash of oil or butter. Cook bacon lardons until crispy. Add the shallot and chard stems. Cook until softened. Add chiffonade of chard. Cook for a couple of minutes until done. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss cooked gnocchi with the pesto. Top with the chard and bacon from the skillet and a few slices of parmesan.