Beetroot Gnocchi with Pistachio & Mint Pesto

Beetroot Gnocchi 01

Last week I had friends over for dinner and had intended to make a beetroot side dish. In the end I decided against it so I had lots of beets sitting in my kitchen. I decided yesterday that I’d be making beetroot gnocchi today.

This morning I looked at my previously used gnocchi recipe and saw it required eggs. I’d been too lazy to go food shopping yesterday so I checked the bakery next door to see if they sold eggs (no shops open in Germany on a Sunday!). No such luck but they said the petrol station up the road did. I took the opportunity of talking a short walk and came home with eggs.

Beetroot Gnocchi 02

Then I discovered another of my recipes and saw that one didn’t require eggs. Gah – what a weird start to the day. I went with the eggless recipe and checked the fridge for stuff to serve with the gnocchi. A huge bunch of mint, also left over from last week, gave me the idea for mint pesto. I decided against adding cheese, but I found a pack of roasted unsalted pistachio nuts I wanted to use. I had to shell them but I only used about two handfuls so that was okay.

Last minute I detected some white asparagus in the fridge and thought I’d fry that together with the gnocchi after cooking.

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I’m quite taken with the result. All the single ingredients go very well together and make for a very delicious combination. I’m especially impressed with everything because I felt quite planless before I started cooking, and then to end up with such a great dish is a nice reward.

They’re not exactly pretty gnocchi, and they’re not all the same size, but for me it’s the taste that matters more than how they look.

I would actually make this as a starter for guests, which is always a criteria when I try out new recipes.

Beetroot Gnocchi 04

Beetroot Gnocchi with Pistachio & Mint Pesto

  • Servings: 2 as a main / 4 as a starter
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Beetroot Gnocchi
250 g potatoes
250 g beetroot
2.5 tsp salt
150 g flour
extra flour for work surface
5 stalks of white (peeled) or green asparagus (optional)
black pepper

Peel potatoes and beetroot, then cut into 1.5 cm / 0.5″ cubes. Cook in salted water for 25 – 30 minutes, until the beets are done.

Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water for later. Let the potatoes and beets cool for about 10 minutes, then either use a potato ricer or masher on them, then when done add the flour bit by bit until you have a firm ball of dough.

Flour a work surface, cut the dough ball into 4 pieces, then roll each one into a thin long sausage, cut off 1.5 cm / 0.5″ bits, shape it a little if necessary and very gently press a fork on it to make grooves, roll it with the fork and groove the other side.

If you’re making the asparagus, cut it into bite sized pieces and cook in slightly salted water with a teaspoon of sugar added.

Reheat the previously used cooking water and cook the gnocchi in batches of approx. 10 pieces. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep in a colander or bowl.

Mint & Pistachio Pesto
handful of roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled
bunch of mint
olive oil or pistachio oil

Finely blend the mint and pistachios together, then add your choice of oil. The mixture should look oile and not dry.

butter for frying

Fry the gnocchi and asparagus in butter until slightly browned. Plate, then season with a few turns of black pepper. Serve sprinkled with the pesto. Can be served straight out of the pan or lukewarm.

Beetroot Gnocchi 05