I had a rare Saturday to myself this week and made my way over to the Union Square farmers’ market. While it has been unseasonably warm here the market made one thing clear–winter is starting to settle in. The number of vendors selling produce has dwindled and root vegetables are out in abundance. While beets and potatoes dominated most stands I did manage to find some purple carrots hiding behind some radishes at one stand. I bought a giant bag and not sure how I was going to harness the vibrant vegetable.
When I got home and started peeling the carrots I noticed that they were staining my hands and it occurred to me that the they might lend a beautiful color to homemade pasta. Like the purple carrots, this gnocchi is a twist on an old classic–it utilizes the fresh ginger, onions and bean sprouts of the season to make a dish that is closer to Banmain than lasagna. I’ve used chickpea flour here to add some protein to the dish–it also lends a nice nutty element, grounding the lime and miso in the sauce.
While this dish is anything but traditional, some of the old rules still hold fast: once you add the gnocchi to the pot, make sure the water doesn’t come to a rolling boil again, but rather, remains at a nice slow simmer. Also, be sure to not overcook the gnocchi–remove the pasta from the pot with a slotted spoon once it floats to the top. I’m not usually such a stickler, but here rules are important–following them will ensure that you don’t end up with a disgusting ball of mushy dough after all of your hard work.
Purple Carrot Gnocchi
4 purple carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 tbsps. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1 1/4 cups chickpea flour
Smoked Miso Lime Sauce
6 cloves smoked garlic
1 1/2 tsps. grated ginger
2 1/2 tbsps. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsps. chickpea miso paste
1/2 lime juice (or more, to taste)
scallions, for garnish
bean spouts, for garnish
For the Gnocchi: Add the carrots to a medium saucepan and just cover with water. Bring the water and carrots to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Strain the carrots and add to a blender with the olive oil, salt, pepper and ginger powder. Puree until smooth. Add the carrot mixture and chickpea flour to a bowl and stir until well combined. Let rest for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface divide the dough into four parts and roll each part into a log about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the log in inch long segments to form the gnocchi.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the gnocchi. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the gnocchi–they are done when they float to the top of the water.
For the Sauce: Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic has browned. Add the miso paste and lime and cook an additional two minutes.
To Serve: Top the gnocchi with the sauce and a generous helping of scallions and bean sprouts. Makes 3 servings.
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