I have always loved gnocchi. I like its plump little form, the toothsome nature of it, the way it draws a hearty ragu or a simple sauce or a delicate broth around it with equal success and delivers it all in one perfect bite. No cutting required. In most cases, when I love a food, I try to make it at home (carpaccio and ice cream being a couple exceptions that jump to mind.) Until recently, gnocchi was on that short list. I was intimidated by it, sure I would mess it up, and confident that a home version would fall so short of the ones expertly made in my favorite restaurants that I couldn’t possibly enjoy it. Then I stumbled upon, of all things, a recipe for gluten free gnocchi made with beets as well as potato. The color of the final product was so stunning that I bookmarked the page and then forgot about it for a year. As I mentioned a few months ago, we take breaks from gluten from time to time.** I have been experimenting more with gluten free flours, trying to understand how they behave, and after pancakes, brownies, and cookies, I wanted to try something new, and savory. Pouring over blog posts old and new, I rediscovered this beautiful bookmarked post and decided to give it a whirl. I figured it would either taste good but look bad or look good and taste like an obvious gluten free impostor of something delicious. I invited my friend Lauren over to taste test.
I admit, I was surprised by the whole experience. The recipe was surprisingly easy and relatively quick to make. The result was a “pasta” with all the toothsome, sauce-carrying deliciousness of pure potato gnocchi, with the added benefit of being beautiful to look at and full of all the detoxifying power, vitamin C, Folic Acid and Potassium of beets. It was delicious. We had seconds. This is sure to be one of my staples from now on.
Note: I froze a few of the gnocchi and cooked them a few days later. The result was pink mush. Moral of the story, eat these fresh. They should be fine in the fridge for a day or two, uncooked, if you have more than you can eat the first day.
**In light of the current gluten-free craze, I have been reluctant to discuss it here or in person too much because, in my experience and in my opinion, no two people react quite the same way to gluten and I don’t want to come across as endorsing one particular diet or another. Some people feel hale and hearty after a gluten-packed meal. Others feel bloated, cranky, head-achey, and even depressed. And a small percentage of the population has celiac disease which is a serious abnormal immune reaction to gluten. For those of you who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease but are curious about being gluten free, I suggest you experiment. Take note of how you feel right after, hours after and the day after a meal with gluten or a meal without it. Play around and remember that each meal you eat, no matter the composition, gives you more information about what your mouth likes, what your body’s “machine” likes, and how you can find a way to feed both of them without leaving either feeling deprived.
I would love to hear about your experiences with gluten and/or gluten-free. And, as always, please feel free to ask me questions.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!