Gnocchi with Roasted Beet Puree

Forrest took me on a trip to the 1804 Inn and Barboursville Vineyards for my last birthday.  One of the highlights of our trip was a late lunch at Palladio.  We ran into James Beard honored chef Mellisa Close Hart in the tasting room after our meal.  She graciously gave Forrest the recipe for her roasted beet puree.  We specifically planted beets just to make this recipe. 

Roasted Beet Puree

1/4 cup orange juice, plus more for puree
Fresh herbs:  bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano; minced
Olive Oil
4 large beets
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
More fresh herbs:  oregano & basil; minced
Zest of 1 orange
fresh grated parmesan
fresh sage, chopped

Coat beets with olive oil.  Place in baking dish.  Add orange juice and fresh herbs.  Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until tender.  Remove beets, reserve juice.  Using a paper towel, peel skin away from beets.  Chop into chunks. 

Combine beets & cooking liquid in blender.  Add salt, pepper, additional herbs, and orange zest.  Puree, adding additional orange juice until it reaches the consistency of thick applesauce.  Keep warm.

Serve warm with toasted gnocchi.  Top with grated parmesan and chopped sage.

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