Parsnip Gnocchi

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 11/2 hours

A twist on the usual potato gnocchi, these are loaded with flavor. The Parmesan and extra flour help hold the dough together and make dense, rich gnocchi. Play up the rich flavor even more by browning them with some butter in a pan (see Roasting and Baking Gnocchi). Serve these gnocchi tossed in Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce or with butter, sage, and Parmesan.

1 pound parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Roast, steam, or boil the parsnips until very tender. (If boiling or steaming, be sure to drain well before proceeding.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

Pure the parsnips in a food processor until smooth; sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Add about 1 cup of the flour, the Parmesan, and the nutmeg and stir; add more flour until the mixture forms a dough you can handle. Knead for a minute or so on a lightly floured surface. Pinch off a piece of the dough and boil it to make sure it will hold its shape; if it does not, knead in a bit more flour. The idea is to make a dough with as little additional flour and kneading as possible.

Roll a piece of the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch thick, then cut the rope into 1-inch lengths; traditionally, you would spin each of these pieces off the tines of a fork to score it lightly. As each gnoccho is ready, put it on a sheet of wax paper; do not allow them to touch.

A few at a time, add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir. A minute after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are done; remove with a slotted spoon. Put in a bowl and sauce or reheat in butter within a few minutes; these do not keep well.

Variation

Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Wonderful with Rustic Pine Nut Sauce: Substitute sweet potatoes for the parsnips.