Feast of the Rutabaga

For the last 15 years or so my husband and I have celebrated the feast of the rutabaga. It is essentially a long running gag based on the fact that once upon a time I had never cooked rutabaga and my husband had never even seen one, but really liked the sound of the word. Every Halloween, now every November 1, since we have children that like to go trick-or-treating, I find a new way to cook rutabaga. This year it was rutabaga gnocchi in a lemon cream sauce. 

I’ve loved gnocchi for years, ever since the first time I had it in Port Aransas, Texas. The Venetian Hot Plate, a restaurant there, makes the best gnocchi I have ever had to this date. (Just for the record they also make the best tortellini I’ve ever had. I wake up at night sometimes dreaming of it.) I’ve developed a recipe over the years for potato gnocchi that I quite like, but further reading on the subject of gnocchi has led me to believe that my recipe is, by most people standards, overly dense. So this evening I made both a potato gnocchi and a rutabaga following instructions which were supposed to create a light and fluffy potato gnocchi. I can’t say I was impressed with the potato. It nearly fell apart during the boiling and tasted a lot like mashed potato, not at all like the rich and creamy pasta I remember. The rutabaga gnocchi on the other hand, were wonderful. The recipe is simple; just boiled, mashed rutabagas with enough flour to make them hold together for shaping. Boil them in water, toss them with your favorite sauce and you’re good to go. (Oh and the gnocchi board was a gift to myself this year. Oh the time I have wasted, trying to get those ridges with forks! It’s enough to make me cry.) For the sauce I chose a basic rue sauce with lemon and cream, mostly because I had lots of lemon juice left over from having made candied lemon peels.

To make this delicious treat, boil strips of lemon (not women as originally written…sigh, lol) in freshwater for several hours, changing the water every hour or so, until all the bitterness is removed from the peels, and they are soft. Make a basic candy recipe and bring it to the softball stage, add your strips of lemon and continue boiling until the syrup reaches the firm ball stage. Lift out the strips of lemon peel and coat them liberally in sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Happy rutabaga day!

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