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I had lost this gnocchi recipe which is based on one by Ruth Rogers of River Café but found it again paired with the beetroot “pesto” recipe in House & Garden magazine and they do really work well together. It makes about 20 gnocchi – draining the ricotta may seem a bit fussy but it does pay off!
1. Strip the leaves from the stalks of the chard then roughly chop the leaves . Cook the leaves in a covered saucepan on a low-medium heat with just a splash of water until leaves have completely wilted.
Note: the chard stalks can be cooked in a little water for 5 minutes until tender, drained and then lightly fried in some oil and served with the gnocchi
2. Squeeze out any excess water from the leaves and chop finely.
3. Put the leaves in a mixing bowl and combine with the drained ricotta, grated parmesan, egg and a generous pinch of salt & pepper. (you can also season with a little nutmeg)
4. Add enough flour – start with 2 tbsps. – to form a very soft, slightly sticky mixture . I find 3 tbsps. works on most occasions.
5. Dust a tray with flour then take teaspoonfuls of the mix and with floured hands shape into walnut sized rounds. The mix is very soft so won’t shape perfectly! Chill for at least 10 mins or until ready to cook
6. For the pesto, wrap the beetroot in foil and roast for 1-1.5hrs until, tender in a 180C oven. Leave to cool then peel and roughly chop.
7. Transfer to a food processor and blend with the olive oil and parsley to a coarse texture. Stir in the toasted chopped walnuts. Best served at room temperature.
8. To cook the gnocchi, boil a large pan of salted water (add about 1tbsp of salt ) and then add the gnocchi. Once they float, cook for 1.5 – 2 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain & serve with beetroot pesto.
9. The gnocchi can be served like this or if you want a crisp outer texture , fry them for 1-2 minutes in a little olive oil .. but be warned they are fragile!
For the gnocchi:
For the “pesto”: