It’s Been A Long Time (Homemade Gnocchi)

Long time no see, people! It’s been much too long since my last post. I, uh, the reason it has been so long is well…

…I just forgot to post for a while.

The other day I visited the farmer’s market to buy some beautiful veggies and herbs for dinner and for the rest of the week. I got home, prepared my wonderfully simple dinner, snapped a couple of pictures, and suddenly I thought, “Oh. OH. BLOG. Didn’t I post last weeke–no. The weekend befo–wait, no…whoops.”

What $3 can buy you at the farmer's market: Chicken Kebab ($2), Ear of Corn (.75¢), Mixed Greens (.25¢)

Yeah. Lame, I know. For that, I am so sorry, readers.

Readers, you deserve something better than a post once in three weeks, because, readers, you are all awesome.  For that reason, I did something special for you all: homemade gnocchi.

You know, gnocchi! Those little riveted mini potato dumplings/pasta you order at a nice italian restaurant? Yeah, those things. Now sprinkle some love, elbow grease–no potato ricer or food mill in here, people–and homemade on that gnocchi and you’ve got a masterpiece. I think the sheer fact that this gnocchi is from scratch elevates its texture–soft, pillowy, dreamy–and subtle flavor to a new level.

Be nice to your gnocchi: use a good-quality pasta sauce like the Rao's arrabiata sauce I used.

Pasta from scratch–especially gnocchi–has been on my list to make for a long time. I keep a Moleskine journal on me at all times and my list of dishes to cook and bake has been growing and growing. Thus, I thought I would start a little feature called 11 in 2011. Click on the link to learn about it!

Now, let us begin the healing process, readers. Have some gnocchi. Okey…gnocchi? HAH! 😀

Sorry. That may have hurt more than it helped.

Another way to eat your gnocchi? Pan fry those suckers!

Homemade Gnocchi

Adapted from extensive research online, but mostly from Smitten Kitchen and Cook, Shoot, Eat

Ingredients:

2 pounds Russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

I love the steam coming off of the center potato in this picture! Also, this recipe still calls for 2 potatoes; the 3rd one was for good-ol' mum 🙂

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes everywhere with a fork and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour until they are fork-tender (really, fork-tender; make sure the potatoes are really cooked through. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Also, if you don’t want to constantly burn your hands, let them cool slightly. Please. (Hot steam burns much more than hot water at the same temperature; basically, it burns you once as it condenses into water and then burns you again when it is 212˚F water.)
  2. Peel the potatoes, and then grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon. The potatoes should look more or less mashed, but if you still have some minimal amounts of grated potato, don’t worry–these will disappear as you go along with the process.
  3. Add your flour to the grated potatoes bit by bit, using only as much as the dough needs to not be sticky (I ended up using just over 1 cup of flour; the rest ended up coating the countertop and my hands).
  4. Dump everything from your bowl onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough by pressing down and away with the heel of your hand, folding the dough away from you and then once to the left or right, and repeating (just like bread dough). Knead for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Form a large ball out of your dough and then divide that into 6-7 balls. On your lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick (if you need to make two ropes of out of this long rope to be able to work with the dough, that’s all good). Cut into 1 inch segments.
  6. Ridges are a total aesthetic aspect of gnocchi; they don’t change the taste one bit, but they do make them more presentable. The technique as stated by Deb of Smitten Kitchen: “With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.” Simple as that.
  7. Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured cookie sheet. This is the perfect opportunity to freeze what you are aren’t about to use (I have a bag full of gnocchi in the freezer now; tastes just as fresh as the day I made it), and if you do, freeze them on the cookie sheet and then drop them into a freezer bag.
  8. To cook, place them into a pot at a rolling boil and well-salted water. When you see the gnocchi float to the top, wait for up to a minute to take the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon.
Toss some gnocchi in with some sauce, put them in a pasta salad, pan fry them with a bunch of veggies–you really can’t go wrong with how you prepare this versatile pasta.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s