My love affair with parsnips has not yet let up... I have made this and added it to this - and pretty much have been sneaking them in every where I could. Yeah. It's like that.
Cher (hearts) Parsnips. XOXOXO. Cher + Parsnips forever. Well, at least for now. Until I have so many of them that I get sick of them. And feel like I have indulged myself to the point where they are oozing out of every cavity. (Sorry, that wasn't appealing, was it?)
Gnocchi and I used to be BFF's. But after a really rough gnocchi experience, the two of us needed to get back on better terms. And I could not think of any better way than to pair gnocchi with my One True Love... (Oh, The Dude is not going to like that statement, is he?) Um. Moving on. Nothing to see here folks...
It was pretty tough not to
shovel spoon up all the cheesy gnocchi goodness into my mouth straight out of the food processor. But it was only ten o'clock in the morning. That would have been rude. (And I would have to come up with a new dinner plan - uh, pizza anyone?) Plus, The Karate Kid (my "little" gnocchi lover) was standing guard - she was pretty diligent about making sure that I didn't pull any fast ones (or maybe she just wanted to be sure that she was there to get her fair share just in case).
I guess the gnocchi gods were smiling in my favor and agreed that it was time that we got back on good terms. I don't think I can recall one single mishap along the way. Oh, I felt super ninja!
This actually turned into a great do-ahead dinner. I make the gnocchi in the morning. Let it sit in the fridge while I went to The Runner's track meet. Came home, threw my shaped loaf of bread in the oven, finished off the gnocchi, tossed together a quick spinach and citrus salad, ate dinner and was on my way out the door for a hockey game within the space of a couple hours. When do things work out that well, ever????
I finished off the gnocchi in a simple sage and browned butter sauce. The delicate flavor of the gnocchi paired really well with the sage. I didn't want to over power the parsnip flavor (XOXO). The crispy texture of the cooked sage - oh, wow. Drool starts coming out of the side of my mouth just thinking about it.
I couldn't tell you if these keep well or not, because there weren't any left over. Not even a crumb too small for a mouse! It was great, because this meal fit well into one of my meat-free days. Plus it was something that everyone enjoyed, so I didn't feel quite so deprived! Although, next time I might plan to make this when the house is empty and eat every single morsel all by myself. Oh, baby! (Wake up, Cher, you must be sleep-blogging because when do you EVER have the house to yourself???)
Parsnip Gnocchi with Browned Butter
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
1 lb parsnips, peeled & roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
8 tbs butter
20-30 sage leaves
Boil the parsnips until very tender and puree in food processor until smooth. Add salt, pepper, 1 cup of flour, spices and cheese and pulse until dough begins to form. Slowly add more flour until you have a workable ball of dough (it will still be a little sticky, but knead a small piece and see how it comes together - you don't want to add too much flour. Remember, slightly sticky is ok, because you will add some flour when you shape it).
Remove dough mass from processor and knead gently on lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 pieces - refrigerate remaining pieces while you work with first ball. Shape ball into long rope (maybe a 3/4 inches thick) - work it as little as possible. It doesn't have to be pretty. Divide rope into 1 inch segments. Using your thumb to create an indentation, press dough across the back of a floured fork to shape (a good YouTube video might be helpful if you have not shaped gnocchi before). Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper (you don't want them to touch - they are probably still a little sticky and then you end up with a lumpy conglomerated mess) - loosely covered with plastic wrap. Repeat process with remaining dough balls. Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours (or as long as overnight - you could also freeze at this point).
When ready to cook, bring moderately salted pot of water to rolling boil. Once water is boiling, add a few gnocchi at a time to the water - they will probably all sink and stick to the bottom of the pot. This is ok. Once about half of them start to rise, give the gnocchi a good stir and cook for a minute or two more (you might want to take a test bite of one to check for consistency). Remove from water with slotted spoon and set on clean kitchen towel. Once water has returned to boil, repeat with remaining gnocchi - working in small batches.
To complete, melt butter in large skillet - adding sage leaves once stick is mostly melted. Cook butter until browned & sage leaves have crisped. Toss cooked gnocchi in butter and cook 2-3 minutes more. Serve immediately - garnish with freshly grated cheese and snipped chives. Don't look for leftovers - they won't be there...
Oh, and if you are a wiser person that I you might want to xonsider clearing out the house, opening a bottle of wine and savoring these all by yourself. Just saying!