These “gnocchetti” are a revelation.  The color is intense, the flavor earthy and sweet and the texture has that kind of disappearing cloud – in – the- mouth effect.  The perfect recipe when you need to wow people, especially those who think they hate beets.  Boy will they change their minds!

1 medium or two small red beets, washed

1 pound ricotta – set in cheesecloth-lined colander set in a bowl and allowed to   drain for a day

1 whole egg

1 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese plus more for the table

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dredging

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Fresh sage leaves

Wrap washed beets in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake in 450 degree oven until tender, approximately 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, open aluminum foil and let beets cool.  Slip the skins off with your hands.  Grate the beets into a mixing bowl on the large hole of a box grater.   Add the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt and freshly ground black pepper to the beets.  Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon.  Add 2/3 cup flour to the ricotta mixture and whisk together to mix.   Set the mixture aside for a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Can be made up to two days ahead.

To form the Gnochetti roll a walnut-sized piece of  beet mixture into a nice round.  Drop it into the bowl of flour, carefully turning to coat all sides. Lay each dumpling on a parchment lined baking sheet lightly covered with flour.  Continue forming the Gnochetti until all the mixture is gone.

Just before you are ready to serve, melt the butter together with the sage leaves in a skillet.  Let the butter lightly brown, the sage leaves should be nice and crispy.  Set brown butter and sage aside while you cook the gnochetti.

Slip the gnocchetti into a  pot of gently simmering salted water.  Wait until they float to the surface of the water and continue to cook for an additional minute.  Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water as they are done and place them on a serving platter.  When all gnochetti are on the platter top with melted butter and crispy sage. Top with a liberal dusting of Parmesan cheese and serve.

(c) Copyright 2008 Evan Kleiman

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