Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gnocchi

Gnocchi are like little potato pillows.  Once they are made and frozen, they make for an easy week night dinner as they can be boiled right from the freezer, so there is no thawing time required.  They taste great with anything from a simple tomato sauce to pesto to even melted butter and parmesan cheese. 

This is great Italian comfort food, especially on a cold snowy day when carbs are a necessity.


A ricer (pictured above) makes the Gnocchi process a lot easier as you'll be able to achieve the fine mashed texture required for the potatoes in this recipe with very little effort. 

Gnocchi
(10-12 servings)
 
Ingredients:

1 kg baking potatoes (left whole)
300 g all purpose flour + more for dusting
3 eggs
80g parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
salt & pepper

Directions:

(1)   Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside
(2) Cook the potatoes with the skins on in plenty of gently boiling salted water until done
-This can take a while (up to an hour) because you are literally boiling the potatoes whole
-The reasoning behind leaving the skin on is to minimize the amount of moisture that gets into the potato while it is boiling (which is what would happen if potatoes were boiled with the skin off)
-Check with a small knife for done-ness (when poking the potato with the knife, it should slide through with little effort)
(3) Remove the potatoes from the pot and allow them to sit for a few minutes
(4) Peel the potatoes while they are still hot.  This can be done by taking a paring knife and scraping the skin off.  It should come off effortlessly.
(5) Press the potatoes through a Ricer
Potatoes pressed through a ricer....
(6) When the potatoes are just cool enough to handle, add the flour, eggs, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste).  Mix by hand with a spatula until everything is just incorporated.  Do not over work the dough (a rough mix is okay here).
Mix until all ingredients are just incorporated...
(6) Working with small sections of the dough at a time, roll into a log (remembering to work dough as little as possible)
(7) Cut the log into Gnocchi (think potato pillows when shaping these, about 1 inch long (or longer if preferred))
-(optional) They can be shaped by gently pressing thumb into one side and pressing a fork on the other

Potato Pillows!

I opted to gently press a fork onto the tops of some Gnocchi, and also leave some 'au natural'...
(8) Put the Gnocchi on the baking sheets, dusting lightly with flour.  Be careful not to pile them on top of each other
Spread out on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and dust well with flour...
(9) When you are ready to cook, drop the Gnocchi in plenty of salted boiling water (if needed, stir gently).  When they float to the top, they are cooked.  Remove and immediately sauce them and serve hot.  
-(hint c/o my instructor) To serve a pasta dish like a restaurant Chef.... in a medium frying pan, on medium-high heat, add some butter and/or olive oil, enough to equal a couple of tablespoons and let heat up.  Add enough tomato sauce to the pan to sauce the pasta you intend to serve, and let sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add boiled Gnocchi and toss together with sauce.  Leave on the heat for a minute or two more and then serve.  Doing this adds an extra layer of richness to your pasta dish (and maybe a couple of calories....but we won't talk about that...). 

End result...yummy sauced Gnocchi....
(10) Freeze unused Gnocchi on the parchment lined baking sheets.  Once it's completely frozen, transfer to Ziploc bags and immediately return them to the freezer.  When ready to eat, do not thaw.  Drop into boiling water from frozen.  This should only add a minute or two to the cooking time.  They will still float to the top when they are cooked. 

Happy Cooking!

4 comments:

  1. I wish I could sleep on a gnocchi pillow..

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    Replies
    1. YES! So do it. Wait, doesn't everybody?
      Thanks for the follow!

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  2. I made these one time, it was a fun project and the results were tasty. Your sauced gnocchi does look amazing. Delicious post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tina. I was suprised at how easy it was!

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