Friday, June 15, 2012

Potato Gnocchi

I'm deep in the middle of a bunch of projects right now. Time really doesn't feel like it belongs to me. When I get super busy, I tend to just pile more and more things on my plate. I decided this last weekend that regardless of the looming deadlines, I was going to have some kitchen and friend time, dammit. So, over came Myles to help me out with some deliberate non-working.

Did you know that Gnocchi can be made with just two ingredients? TWO! Seriously, it's potatoes and flour and it's soooo delicious. I started making it a few years ago. My first foray into gnocchi was a bit of a disaster. I made Sweet Potato Gnocchi for Thanksgiving one year. I didn't think to roll the dough into little ropes and cut it, so I was just pulling big chunks off the ball of dough. Everything was uneven and way too big, mostly because as I was getting impatient and making the balls bigger and bigger as I went along. When we ate them, they were horribly dense and chewy.

I loved the idea, though, and have made gnocchi many times since then, with much better technique, though my pieces never come out quite even.

Making gnocchi is easy. You combine cooked potato with flour, then boil it in salty water, put a little butter in a pan and then saute it until the outside is a little crisp. You get a little bite on the outside, and inside is a dreamy, gooey potato dumpling. Served with a flavorful sauce, it's quite the impressive dish. It's especially wonderful eaten with a good friend for a weekend lunch, accompanied by a refreshing cocktail and followed by a trip to the pool.

Potato Gnocchi

I highly recommend using yukon gold potatoes if you can, or another smaller thin skinned potato. It will give you the best results.

1lb Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled
1 Cup Flour, sifted

Peel your potatoes, then dice them. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil, then cook the potatoes in it for about 20 minutes until they are completely tender. Drain the potatoes really well.

In you have a ricer, use this to rice the potatoes, if not, press the potatoes through the holes in a metal colander into a large mixing bowl. You want a nice fluffy mound. Sift the flour over the potatoes, then mix to form a ball of dough. It might be a tiny bit sticky. If you didn't get enough water out of your potatoes when you drained them, I recommend adding just a smidge more flour, but go easy else the gnocchi will come out heavy.

Bring another pan of really salty water to the boil. On a clean surface, roll out some of the gnocchi dough into a rope. It should be about 3/4 of an inch wide. With a sharp knife, slice of dough at one inch intervals. Roll across the tines of a fork and make a ridgey dent (very technical term, I know) in the dumplings, as shown here:

Drop the gnocchi into the boiling salty water for a minute or two. They are done when the float to the surface. Pull them out and drain them as soon as they start to float, they will have swelled up.

In a shallow saute pan, melt a tablespoon or two of butter and add the gnocchi. Saute until they get some color on them, this will make the outside a little crispy.

Serve with a great sauce, like a beurre blanc or a white cheese sauce. Maybe a side of asparagus and some bruschetta too. Devour shamelessly.

Makes about 4 servings.

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