Thursday, March 27, 2008

Recipe: Parsnip Gnocchi with Pearl Onions, Peas, and Mushrooms

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.

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.

Parsnip Gnocchi with Peas, Pearl Onions, and MushroomsRoasted Parsnip Gnocchi with Pearl Onions, Peas, and Mushrooms
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.

Parsnip Gnocchi:
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.

Parsnip GnocchiDivide 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.

This is my entry for Grow Your Own, an event created and hosted by Andrea’s Recipes.


Elly said...

Oh my goodness, Laurie. This looks seriously amazing. I can see why you wanted to recreate it and your recreation looks fab!

Peter M said... couldn't translate this one now could ya? lol

The roasted veggies would add a nice dimension to the dish.

Anonymous said...

Parsnip gnocchi look great Laurie. And the vegetable selection you chose look very complementary for this dish.

Suganya said...

Laurie, I should thank you for this recipe. I see parsnips every single time in our Farmer's market. All I do is roasted veg medley/soup. Gnocchi sounds fab.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Yout gnocchi looks delicious with the onions and mushrooms and the peas give just that nice touch of fresh colour.

Cheryl said...

I don't know how you do it Laurie! This looks great- I might try some of this gnocchi for the kids, they can never have enough pasta! (like their mom!) Looks absolutely delicious!!

Ivy said...

Laurie I never heard of parsnip before and took a quick look in wiki before commenting. Evidently in ancient Greece and Rome they used it and before the potato was known to the Europeans its place in dishes was occupied by the parsnip and other root vegetables such as taro.
This looks like a great recipe.

Lisa Turner said...

Ahh, more mushroom bliss. I just love when you cook with mushrooms. I don't cook with parsnips very often but this recipe sounds fantastic. Impressive job of making up your own version based on a picture.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love how you can make gnocchi at the drop of a hat, sweet potato earlier and now parsnips! These look fabulous, and their sweetness a nice counterpoint to mushrooms.

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

And I just happen to have a few parsnips lying around... :-) Thank you for an original way to use them, I shall try the recipe tonight.

FYI: I have linked back to your site on the Gigantes research, thanks for the correction. Take a look: Gigantes Tiganiti … Pan-Fried Giant Beans


Laurie Constantino said...

Elly, it was really fun to make, besides tasting good.

Peter M - no I couldn't!

Peter G - yes, the vegetables nicely set off the gnocchi.

Suganya, if you make it, I'd love to hear how it goes.

Thank you forkful!

Ronell, no doubt ith fresh (rather than frozen) peas the colors would be more gorgeous (something to keep in mind when our garden finally thaws out).

Cheryl, it's because I've always loved playing with my food...

Ivy, I've never seen a parsnip in Greece - I think in today's world they may be more of a cold weather vegetable. They have a sweetish flavor that makes roasting them the best way to go, in my opinion at least.

Lisa, I'm with you on mushrooms! Every year we look forward to wild mushroom season when we feast on them and replenish our dried mushroom supply. So glad you like the recipe!

Manju, I think gnocchi sound harder to make then they really are. Particularly with an easy-to-work-with dough like this one, gnocchi are simple.

Sam, good luck! Glad the Gigantes stuff was useful. Trying to pin down exactly what bean they were was kind of like a scavenger hunt - there's a lot of misinformation in the blogosphere (and cookbooks) about them. I'm thankful for the EU applications which finally gave me a clear answer.

Maria Verivaki said...

i've never tried making gnocchi, but they look delicious - must try them sometime

Andrea said...

That looks like a plate of perfect comfort food! All I need is a fork! Thanks for sharing it with us for Grow Your Own!

Laurie Constantino said...

You should try them Maria, they really taste great. Also, most kids like them.

Andrea, you've pegged this right - definitely comfort food. Grow Your Own is a great event, thanks!