Roasted Carrot Gnocchi

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I had the pleasure of presenting a demonstration at the recent WGBH Food and Wine Festival.  Here's the recipe for the dish I prepared for a crowd. 

  • 1 pound trimmed carrots
  • 1 ½-inch slice onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces quark
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅜ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semolina or all-purpose flour, for forming gnocchi

To cook gnocchi

  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut carrots into 1-inch chunks. Toss carrots and onion with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake until carrots are fork-tender.

Purée carrots and onion in food processor until smooth.

Transfer purée to a medium bowl. Stir in quark, yolks, cheese, nutmeg and salt until evenly combined. Gently stir in flour to make a soft dough––it will be damp but scoopable.

Put semolina in a pie plate. Gently flour a sheet pan. Using two spoons, scoop gnocchi dough in tablespoons onto semolina. Toss gently to cover balls in semolina and lift onto sheet pan. Continue until all the dough is used.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Gently drop half of the gnocchi into the water. Cook until the gnocchi float to the surface of the water. Lift out, using a skimmer, tap gently to drain off water and place back onto sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and slide the gnocchi around to coat gently with oil.

Repeat with the other half of the gnocchi.

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and let it cook until it begins to brown. Carefully add the cooked gnocchi to the butter with 1 cup of the gnocchi cooking liquid. Shake the pan gently to keep the gnocchi from sticking. Cook until the liquid has reduced to a saucy consistency. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Garnish with carrot top gremolata or minced herbs, carrot confit, crushed cocoa nibs or a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Carrot Top Gremolata

A traditional gremolata is made with finely minced parsley, lemon zest and garlic. This non-traditional version uses carrot tops to replace the parsley and adds chilies for a pop of color and heat.

  • Carrot tops
  • Garlic
  • Chili peppers or red bell peppers
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Mince enough carrot tops to make ½ cup, enough garlic and chilies to make ¼ of each. Stir together, sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle with a little oil. Use within 24 hours.

Carrot Confit with Cocoa

  • Carrots
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Cocoa nibs

Cut the carrots into think disks or sticks. Put in a saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by 1/4-inch. Put over low heat and cook slowly, until carrots are tender and melting, but NOT falling apart. Remove from heat and let cool.

Drain oil from carrots (reserve for use in salad dressings or mayonnaise). Sprinkle carrots with salt and vinegar. Taste and add more acid and salt as needed. Stir in a handful of cocoa nibs for texture (2 tablespoons or so for 1 pound of carrots).