Spaetzle di Rape Rosse

Beetroot Dumplings

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This is a traditional dish from the remote mountainous region of Trentino-Alto Adige where beetroot is used in many recipes. Locally, you can buy a special instrument for cutting the spaetzle dough to the correct shape and size, but a wide-holed ricer works reasonably well. Failing this, use two small spoons to form little dumplings that can be neatly dropped into the pan of boiling water. This recipe is from the northern part of the region, close to the Austrian border, where most people still speak German.

Ingredients

  • 2 raw beetroot/beets
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200 g/7 oz/ cups wholemeal/whole-wheat flour
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1.5 ml/¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • 40 g/ oz/3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Put the beetroot in a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 45 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool in the water, then drain, reserving the water. Peel.
  2. Push the beetroot through a food mill into a mixing bowl to make a smooth purée. Add the eggs, 150 ml/¼ pint/ cup of the reserved cooking water, the flour, oil and nutmeg. Season with salt and leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

  3. Bring a wide pan of salted water to the boil and press the mixture into the boiling water through a wide-holed ricer, or use two small spoons to form little dumplings and drop them into the water. As soon as the dumplings rise to the surface of the water, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and arrange them in a buttered ovenproof dish.

  4. Sprinkle with the butter cubes and the Parmesan cheese, then bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.

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