Beetroot Gnocchi with Burnt Butter and Feta
FEATURING MONJAY MEZZA’S MARINATED GOAT’S FETA
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Gnocchi’s origins reach back to Roman times. A favourite of that empire’s legions, they spread it throughout Europe as surely as they spread death and destruction. Originally made with semolina and eggs, the potato version we’re familiar with didn’t come on to the scene until the 16th century. It was perfected by the northern Italians, who found potatoes a crop better suited to their cooler climate than grain.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with plain old potato gnocchi. In fact, we love it. But at Monjay, we operate by the maxim: if it ain’t broke, tweak it. In this case, that means the addition of beetroot. Earthy, sweet beetroot, balanced with tannin-y walnuts, coated in a salty burnt butter. And, of course, topped with our marinated goats feta.
Is our beetroot gnocchi better than the original? You be the judge.
- 500 grams starchy potatoes (King Edward, Coliban or an all-rounder like Sebago)
- 250 grams beetroots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup plain flour
- 80 grams chilled salted butter
- Handful of sage leaves
- 70 grams walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
- Monjay Mezza Marinated Goats Feta
How to Prepare
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Bake the potatoes in their skins for about an hour or until tender. Cut them open with a knife to let the steam escape (resist topping with cheese and sour cream and devouring at kitchen bench). Scoop out the flesh when they’re cool enough to handle.
Peel and grate the beetroots. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the beats over a low to medium heat for around half an hour or until tender. Season to taste. Puree in a food processor.
Pass the potato flesh through a ricer and then mix with the beetroot puree. Again, season to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Time to get messy. Sprinkle a third of the flour on your clean kitchen counter, turn out the potato/beetroot dough and begin to knead. Sprinkle in the remaining flour until it comes together. Pinch off a piece and plop it into the boiling water to see if it holds its shape. If it doesn’t, add a touch more flour – but no more than necessary.
When you’re happy with the consistency, roll the dough into a long sausage about a ½ inch thick, then cut at ½ inch intervals. Place the pieces on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper, ensuring they don’t touch each other.
Cook the beetroot gnocchi a few pieces at a time in water that isn’t boiling too rapidly. They’re ready a few seconds after they bob to the surface.
Burnt Butter Sauce
This one is really tricky. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook until foamy and brown – two to three minutes. Throw in the whole sage leaves, swirl, remove from the heat.
Toss the beetroot gnocchi in the burnt butter sauce, scatter over the walnuts and dollop with our velvety feta. Place the pan in the middle of the table and let the savages help themselves.
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