These beautiful gnocchi show off a rich red color. The flavor of the gnocchi is earthy but not intensely beet-y, and the texture is soft and delicate. This recipe is different from beet and potato gnocchi, since it is enriched by the addition of ricotta cheese. — Jenn Louis, author of Pasta By Hand: A Collection of Italy’s Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the beets in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drizzle with the olive oil, and add the water. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and roast until the beets can be easily pierced with a skewer, 40 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets with your fingers or a paring knife. Cut the beets into large chunks.
In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, combine the beets and egg and process until very smooth.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 cup of the beet purée, the ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a few swipes of nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix with your hands or on medium speed until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the all-purpose flour and knead with your hands or on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix, as this will make the gnocchi tough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Dust ½ cup all-purpose flour on the work surface, then scrape the dough from the bowl directly on top of the flour. Lightly dust the top of the dough with more all-purpose flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with semolina flour. Cut off a chunk of dough about the width of two fingers and leave the rest covered with plastic wrap. On a work surface very lightly dusted with all-purpose flour, use your hands to roll the chunk into a log about ½-inch in diameter. Cut the log into ¼-inch pieces. Put the gnocchi on the prepared baking sheets and shape the remaining dough. Make sure that the gnocchi don’t touch or they will stick together.
(To store, refrigerate on the baking sheets, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days, or freeze on the baking sheets and transfer to an airtight container. Use within 1 month. Do not thaw before cooking.)
Bring a large pot filled with generously salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi and simmer until they float to the surface, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and finish with your choice of sauce. Serve right away.