Last week I was rambling around the internet and came across a picture of “Parsnip Gnocchi and Chanterelles.” The photographer (Kevin) had enjoyed the dish, which also included peas and pearl onions, at Summit Restaurant in Colorado Springs. The concept captured my imagination. Roasted Parsnip Gnocchi with Pearl Onions, Peas, and Mushrooms
Too bad there wasn’t a recipe. Even so, it looked possible to recreate using the picture as a guide.
Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand. Parsnips and mushrooms came in my latest Full Circle Farm CSA box. The pantry held a bag of pearl onions; I’d bought too many for Mushroom Stifado. A bag of peas from last summer’s garden was languishing in the freezer.
I immediately got to work making parsnip gnocchi. When the dish was done, it tasted as good as Kevin's picture looked. I’m already planning to make it again.
Serves 4 - 6
The gnocchi are surprisingly simple to make because, unlike some gnocchi recipes, this dough is easy to handle. Putting ridges in the gnocchi isn't necessary (and they're faster to make if you don’t). The ridges help gnocchi pick up flavors from the other ingredients, so I generally do it. No doubt the finished dish would taste better with wild mushrooms, but it tasted wonderful with the cremini I used. Pearl onions and mushrooms need to be sautéed in batches to ensure they brown properly; if you try to brown too many vegetables in a pot at one time, they’ll steam rather than brown. Because the vegetables are cooked and salted separately, be careful about how much salt you add to any individual vegetable or the finished dish may be too salty.
2 pounds whole parsnips
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
3/4 - 1 cup flour, plus extra for flouring surfaces
2 cups pearl onions (1 pound) or 14 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
4 – 6 Tbsp. butter
2 cups sliced or quartered mushrooms
2 cups blanched and halved crosswise sugar snap peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil or chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp. minced garlic
Make the Gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the parsnips. Rub them with olive oil and wrap them in aluminum foil. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with a skewer or knife; the exact length of time depends on the parsnips’ size. Let cool, then skin the parsnips.
Purée the parsnips in a food processor. Mix in the parmesan and 3/4 cup flour. Dump the dough on a floured surface. Knead lightly, adding flour as necessary to prevent the dough from being sticky.
Divide the dough into 2” balls. Using your fingertips, roll out each ball on a floured surface into a long, 3/4” diameter, rope. Cut the rope into 3/4” pieces. To make ridged gnocchi, roll each piece of dough off the back of a fork, pressing lightly down as you roll. Put the finished gnocchi on a floured surface, in a single layer, while you cook the vegetables.
Cook the Vegetables: If starting with dried pearl onions, peel them and cut an X in the root end to help hold the onion layers together. An easy way to peel the onions is to drop them in boiling water for a minute and then slip off the peels.
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. Sauté half the pearl onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in the butter until the onions are well browned on all sides and cooked through. Be careful not to burn the butter; turn down the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Remove the browned onions from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pearl onions, adding butter as necessary.
In the same pan, sauté half the mushrooms, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper and adding butter as necessary, until they are well-browned on both sides. Remove the browned mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon, add to the onions, and set aside. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, adding butter as necessary.
In the same pan, sauté the peas, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until they are almost, but not quite, done. Remove the peas from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the other vegetables.
Finish the Gnocchi and Vegetables: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add half the gnocchi to the water and cook until the gnocchi float to the surface. When the gnocchi float, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and put them in the pan in which the vegetables cooked. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
Over medium heat, gently toss the gnocchi to lightly coat them with butter. Add the vegetables, basil, and garlic, and toss gently to combine. When all the vegetables are heated through, serve immediately.
Roasted Parsnip Gnocchi with Pearl Onions, Peas, and Mushrooms