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Potato Gnocchi

Monday, May 12, 2014

Recipe adopted from Anne Burrell.  [Recipe makes 8 servings].

Gnocchi [NYOH-kee] is an Italian dish that is commonly referred to as potato dumplings.  Although potato is most commonly used as the main ingredient, it can be substituted with ricotta cheese or breadcrumbs.  Gnocchi can range in size and shape depending on where you go, but most often you'll find it in logs with a diameter of roughly 1-inch and a length of roughly 1 1/2-inches.  In addition, they are often rolled on the back of a fork or a gnocchi board to create ridges that are designed to hold onto more sauce.  As pictured above, I prefer to toss my gnocchi in a tomato sauce and top with Parmesan and basil, but other options include tossing with a sage butter, cream sauce, or pesto.

As you'll note below, the measurements aren't as exact as most of my recipes.  This is due to the fact that there is quite a bit of variance between the definition of a large Idaho potato.  Similar to making fresh pasta, this recipe basically calls for a set amount of ingredients, combined with just enough flour to make a dough.  So for some of you, 3 cups of flour will be enough, but for others, you might use all 4 cups.

INGREDIENTS:

5 large Idaho potatoes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
14 1/4 to 19 ounces (~3 to 4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven.  Bake until fork tender, roughly 45 to 60 minutes.

Peel the skins off the potatoes while they are still hot, using a paring knife.  Cut the potatoes into manageable pieces and pass through a food mill or ricer, onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  Transfer the sheet tray to the refrigerator until cold, roughly 60 minutes.

Transfer the cold potato to a large, lightly floured work surface.  Create a well in the potatoes and add the eggs, cheese, and salt.  Use a bench knife to start incorporating the ingredients together.  Add 1 to 2 cups of flour and continue to mix.  Once the dough becomes manageable, begin kneading by hand.  Continue gradually adding more flour until the dough is still slightly moist, but not tacky to the touch.  [Side note:  For a visual on what this process looks like, feel free to check out Chef Anne's video].

Divide the dough into 8 to 10 portions, and roll each portion into logs that are roughly 1-inch in diameter.  Lightly flour the logs, and then use a bench knife to cut the logs into 1 1/2-inch lengths.  Transfer the gnocchi to a floured sheet tray, making sure to keep them in a single layer.  At this point, the gnocchi can either be cooked or frozen.  [Side note:  If you wish to freeze the gnocchi, transfer the whole sheet pan to the freezer.  Once completely frozen, remove the gnocchi, dust off any excess flour, and transfer to a zip-lock bag].

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In batches, add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they float for 30 seconds.  Remove the gnocchi with a mesh strainer and saute in butter to get some color, and/or toss with your favorite sauce.

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