carrot caraway gnocchi

Carrot and Caraway Gnocchi

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carrot caraway gnocchi
With a quick mushroom sauce, these gnocchi were perfect!

Last week, our CSA share had a bunch of carrots. Since it’s close to the end of the carrot season, these carrots aren’t as good as those earlier in the year. They tend to be tougher and perhaps a bit stringier, but they aren’t to the point where they’ve bolted (at that point, they’re so tough, the only thing we’d consider using them for would be stock), but tough enough that we wanted to cook them in some way that would use the flavor, while minimizing that woodiness.

More or less, on a whim, we decided to go with carrot gnocchi. We’ve never made it, never had it, and, to be completely honest, not even sure that it would work. So, a quick check on the Internet revealed a huge variety of recipes, most mixing carrots with potatoes. Well, no potatoes in the house, so they were out. We did find one we looked at, but only sort of followed the recipe. You can see it here, but it’s significantly different.

Carrot and Caraway Gnocchi

Yield: about 70 gnocchi

Carrot and Caraway Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 egg
  • ~3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Abbreviated Instructions

Place carrots in a large saucepan covered with salted water. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until quite tender, about 45 minutes.

Drain carrots, then place on a clean cutting board or towel to cool and dry for 10 minutes.

Place carrots and caraway seeds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth.

Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer.

Transfer carrots to a large bowl, add egg and about 1/4 cup flour, and work in gently. Continue adding flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. It will still be sticky.

Scrape off a small piece of the carrot mixture and drop into the simmering water to cook. If it falls apart, work in more flour.

Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate dough for 20 to 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Generously dust a work surface with flour, and, working with about 1/4 of the carrot mixture at a time, gently roll into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut into 3/4 inch segments and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Freeze until solid, about 1 hour.

To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to a simmer, add about half the gnocchi and simmer until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2015/07/carrot-and-caraway-gnocchi/

Ingredient discussion:

Organic carrots are inexpensive enough that, if we have to buy some, that’s how we go. Even though the carrots are organic, we’d peel them for this recipe, as sometimes the peels are slightly bitter. For eggs, we use those that have been laid by truly free-range hens. It’s simple: healthy hens will lay healthy eggs.

Procedure in detail:

cooking carrots
Using salted water will help your carrots taste more carroty. Not salty.

Boil carrots. Place the carrots in a saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Add salt, enough to make the water taste salty, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes.

drying carrots
Take the time for the carrots to cool and dry out; you don’t want carrot soup.

Dry carrots. Drain the carrots, then place them on a clean cutting board or towel to cool and dry, about 10 minutes. You want some of the moisture to come out of the carrots; otherwise, you’ll have something more akin to carrot soup than gnocchi.

carrot puree
We pulsed the carrots and caraway seeds together. You could grind the caraway seeds, or add them after the carrots are puréed; your choice.

Blend carrots. Place the carrots in the bowl of a food processor along with the caraway seeds. Pulse and scrape down the sides of the bowl until you have a carrot paste. It’s okay if the caraway seeds don’t get blended or if there are small carrot pieces left. Once blended, transfer to a bowl.

Simmer water. You’ll need some simmering water to test the gnocchi dough as you make it, so place a saucepan of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. We used the pan we cooked the carrots in rather than getting out a clean pan.

making gnochi
The less flour you add, the lighter your gnocchi will be, and, working gently will help prevent the bane of all gnocchi lovers everywhere: rubbery gnocchi.

Make dough. Add the egg and about 1/4 cup of flour to the carrot mixture and work it in gently. Work in another 1/4 cup of flour. Continue adding flour until you have a very soft, even sticky, dough. The less flour you add, the lighter the gnocchi will be.

testing gnocchi
A small amount dropped in simmering water will show you whether your gnocchi will hold together. If not, add a bit more flour.

Test dough. Scrape away a small amount of dough and drop it into the simmering water. It should sink at first, but, after a minute, float to the surface. If it falls apart, you need to add more flour to the dough and try again. What you want is to add just enough flour to hold everything together while it simmers.

gnocchi dough
Once the dough has the right amount of flour,. season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season. Once you’ve adjusted the flour properly, add kosher salt and black pepper to taste. If you worry about raw eggs, feel free to cook up little pieces in your simmering water to taste. It only takes a minute, so it’s not a big deal.

Chill. Cover the dough and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 to 30 minutes. This chilling will make the dough easier to handle, although it’ll still be sticky. It also gives you an opportunity to do a little clean-up. Remember: a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen.

Line sheet. While it’s by no means necessary, we like to freeze our gnocchi before cooking; they’re so much easier to handle frozen. So, we line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Parchment or waxed paper will work, too.

shaping gnocchi
The dough will be sticky, so don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour.

Shape. Generously flour a work surface, and, working with about a quarter of the dough at a time, roll, or somehow shape the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. It will very soft and sticky, so do the best you can, and dust with flour as needed.  Once you have a rope, cut off 3/4 inch lengths and place on your prepared baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough.

carrot gnocchi ready for the freezer
While it’s not necessary, we like to freeze our gnocchi, just to make them easier to handle.

Freeze. Place the gnocchi in the freezer until solid, about an hour. Longer is fine, too. Once frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags and save for a later meal.

simmering gnocchi
Simmer until the gnocchi float to the surface, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Cook. To cook gnocchi, bring a large kettle of salted water to a simmer. A full boil would break up the gnocchi, resulting in a mess. Once simmering, add gnocchi, about 30 at a time, and simmer until they float to the surface. Once floating, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to warmed bowls, or to your choice of sauce that’s simmering on the stove.

We had our gnocchi with a white wine mushroom sauce (basically, a small amount of onions and garlic cooked along with the mushrooms in butter, a splash of wine, salt and pepper to taste), and thought they were outstanding. Light as clouds, not rubbery as poor gnocchi tend to be, and the caraway a perfect match for the carrots, although we might just grind the caraway seeds next time. Even so, these were as close to perfect gnocchi as we’ll probably get. Five stars.

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