Gnocchi, with a twist

August 7, 2008 10:05:08 AM PDT
Restaurant owners in Brooklyn not only brought recipes from their native Italy, they brought the kitchen equipment as well.And that's offering up some pretty authentic Italian cuisine in this edition of Neighborhood Eats.

It would be nice to make a summer excursion to Italy, but thanks to a team of brothers, you can go to Italy without leaving the state. Baci and Abracci is located at 204 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It's a neighborhood restaurant via Sorrento, Italy. That's where the owners are from, and they've brought along things from home, like the pizza oven. Their recipes are from home, too.

And of course, there are classic Neopolitan dishes. But there's one item that doesn't come from their area of Italy, and it's a favorite - the violette gnocchi.

So what is it? It's gnocchi made from roasted beets. Chef Mario Vaquero purees the beets along with ricotta and goat cheese, and salt and pepper.

Once it's pureed, he adds in flour and mixes by hand. This become the violette gnocchi dough, which he cuts, rolls out and slices into half-inch pieces. Those are quickly boiled. Once they are done, they're added to a sauce made of cream, goat cheese and arugula.

It is a pretty twist on gnocchi.

And the brothers Capiello love hearing that. They picked Williamsburg because they like the youthful vibe, and they're enjoying sharing their italian love. After all, their restaurant, Baci and Abracci, means kisses and hugs.

Recipe for Violette Gnocchi - by Chef-Partner Mimmo Cappiello

For the gnocchis:

  • 4 red beets
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/2 pound ricotta cheese
  • 7 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for gnocchi dough)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (for boiling water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

    1. Roast beets for 45 minutes at 350ºF.

    2. Peel and smash the beets until they reach a puree consistency. Simultaneously, begin to boil 1/2 gallon of water with 2 teaspoons of salt.

    3. Add goat cheese, ricotta, salt and pepper to the beets. Peel the potatoes and blend with beets. Mix everything well.

    4. Empty 2 cups of flour on a counter. Place red beet mixture on the flour. Mix beet mixture with flour until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture is no longer sticky (10 minutes), becoming gnocchi dough.

    5.Cut dough into pieces. Sprinkle some of the remaining flour on the counter and roll each piece as thick as your middle finger. With a spatula or a knife cut the dough in half-inch pieces. Roll each piece in the flour so that they don't stick to the counter.

    6. By now, the water should be boiling. Boil the gnocchi for 7 minutes. Drain gnocchi. If sauce is not ready, sprinkle ghnocchi with olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.

    For the sauce:

  • 1/2 quart heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parmigiano cheese (grated)
  • 1 shallots
  • 1/2 ounce of wild or baby arugula
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

    1. Chop the shallots fine and place them in a pan with butter.

    2. Warm up the shallows and butter, and add the cream sauce. Boil mixture for one minute and add the goat cheese. Once the cheese melts, add the gnocchi. Stir them gently.

    3. Add the arugula and the parmigiano. In 2-3 minutes the sauce will become smooth and thick and the violette di parma are ready.

    Chef recommends enjoying with a lightly fruity medium body red wine.


    STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg

    WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King