The other night I followed through with my menu plan and made some extremely unconventional gnocchi. This gnocchi was baked, not boiled, and cut into rounds more like a croquette than a gnocchi. But DH was ecstatic over the dish, and any dish with greens that DH is ecstatic over is something to take note of. I recently opened a box of Cream of Buckwheat that had been hiding in my pantry forever. We used it for hot cereal several days, and it struck the perfect balance for me- hearty and whole grain without being too heavy. Mild but not insipid, thick but not lumpy. Good stuff, and DH pronounced it not too different from oatmeal. But then I was reading a recipe for spinach gnocchi and noticed it called for semolina. Semolina, a kind of wheat flour, makes me think of the Indian Rava, or cream of semolina. And that made me think of my new discovery, cream of buckwheat. So, I decided to make my own version of this recipe, using cream of buckwheat instead of semolina and substituting beet greens and a few leaves of red chard for the spinach. (DH far prefers beet greens to spinach.) It made the whole house smell good, especially when I threw together some garlic bread using an unfavorite baguette brought home from Austria. DH proclaimed it to smell “just like a restaurant,” and the whole meal tasted like a restaurant meal, too. So, if you’re tired of the same old potato gnocchi- why not try something really different, like cream of buckwheat gnocchi? It should be even more nutritious, and it was definitely delicious.
If it’s not in your local store, get your Wheat-free, Gluten-free Pocono Organic Cereal, Cream of Buckwheatfrom Amazon. :)
Buckwheat Gnocchi with Greens
14 oz. fresh spinach OR beet greens from one bunch of beets plus any other greens to make 2 or 3 cups of fresh greens
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cup Cream of Buckwheat cereal (Pocono)
1/8 cup butter
4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
fresh grated nutmeg
salt, freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
Blanch your beet greens or spinach until nicely cooked, drain thoroughly and chop into small pieces.
Rinse a pot with water and place on burner still damp. Let warm and then add your milk, heating until the milk begins to boil. Slowly add your (uncooked) Cream of Buckwheat cereal grits to the milk and stir. Let mixture come back to a boil and then lower heat, stirring frequently for up to ten minutes or until mixture has thickened nicely to a grit-like texture. Take off the burner and add butter, cheese, and seasonings. Let mixture cool for a few minutes (up to five) and then add your beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
If you’d like, separate out some of the mixture for plain gnocchi (no greens). Mix greens into the other half of the “dough” and combine thoroughly.
There are 2 preparation options.
1)scoop out little balls of the dough and form them into a little gnocchi shape, placing them on a baking tin in a single layer sprayed with non-stick cooking spray as you make each one.
2)spread the batter on cookie tins about 1/2 inch thick and let cool in refrigerator. When firm, use little cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out gnocchi “rounds” (more like croquettes, really) and place on a single layer on a baking tin sprayed with non-stick cooking spray as you make each one. Top each round with extra parmesan cheese. (Really, do, it adds a lot of flavor and interest)
Place in pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 35 minutes or so. Remove from oven and reserve.
You can either serve as is with a yummy homemade tomato sauce OR to take it up a notch…
Heat 1 or 2 tsp. butter with 1 or 2 tsp. garlic flavored olive oil in a cast iron pan. (To make oil, just sautee up some garlic in the oil and then remove the garlic from the pan, leaving the oil.- I actually used oil from a garlic bread mash topping of garlic, parsley, and pepper, so there was infused parsley in the oil too, yum.) When warm, add a single layer of your baked gnocchi. After they warm and get a little golden brown, turn them over. When done, remove from pan and serve with your sauce.
SUPER YUMMY THIS WAY!
DH was amazingly enthused about this dish, and gobbled it down. I had to take the gnocchi away from the table or he said he would eat it all right then. lol. We will be making this again- AND it’s a great, fun way to use cream of buckwheat cereal.
A very untraditional gnocchi, on many points, but we liked it.
All Purpose Pasta Sauce
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, sage, oregano), or 1 tablespoon dried spices
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes or 1 can whole tomatoes and 5 or 6 home grown heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (reserve juice from can and any from the tomatoes) OR 1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes and 1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
GF Spaghetti noodles
Grill or roast your fresh tomatoes until charred and skin comes off easily. Chop roughly and retain any juice. In a sauce pan or dutch oven, heat the oil to medium, and add your diced onion and garlic, cooking until lightly golden (about 10 minutes). Lower heat if needed. ThroIn a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add spices and grated carrot and cook for about five minutes. Add tomatoes and any juice or liquid from the can or fresh tomatoes and let come to boil, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. Turn down heat and simmer on low for half an hour until thickened. Add salt to taste.
Use on pasta, and/or for vegetarian sloppy joes.