Monday, June 18, 2012

DIY GNOCCHI


I usually buy this frozen Gnocchi to keep in the freezer to make a quick dinner when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen and don't feel like take out.   But after I participated in the Luminato installation that had people making and serving fresh gnocchi prepared on site from mobile shopping carts I was inspired to make a batch at home and freeze some for later.    I still had a bag of gnocchi in the freezer and while I never looked at the ingredients I was curious to see what was added in the processing of this bag of gnocchi.  While it says whole eggs, salt, water it also contains potato flakes... and a bunch of other things I can't even pronounce that are stabilizers.

My DIY Gnocchi contains the following:

2 Eggs
3 Large steamed Russet potatoes
2 tsps of salt
3 cups of flour

The Directions:

These are rough quantities that I used.  I am not very precise on measurements and opted for texture but you can work with this amount of eggs and potatoes and just adjust the salt and flour depending on the size and texture of the potatoes.

Steam the potatoes until soft in the middle.    Steaming prevents it getting too wet and also retains all the nutrients.  Peel the potatoes and use a Ricer or Food Mill (this is what I used) or if you don't have these use a fork or just mash the potatoes.  Don't use a food processor or it might make it too heavy.  You want to keep the potatoes light and fluffy.  

Add the eggs, you can beat them lightly before you add them if you like.

Add a couple of tsps of salt depending on how big the potatoes are and how salty you like it.  I ease up on the salt and prefer to add seasoned sauces.

Add the flour a little at a time and mix with a wooden spoon until the mix combines and comes together and away from the sides of the bowl.  You want a soft but solid consistency.

Flour your cutting board and grab a handful of dough and roll out into rope shapes.  roll from the middle to the end for a nice even shape.   Cut into little pillow like shapes about a half an inch apart.   You can add ridges if you like by rolling a fork over it but i skipped this step.

Put the cut gnocchi on a floured cookie sheet and make sure flour coats them all over so they don't stick together in the pot when you boil them.  You can let them dry for a bit or you can boil them right away.
The other option is to freeze them on the cookie sheet and then when they are frozen you can put them in a ziplock bag and put them back in the freezer to cook anytime.   I cooked some fresh and froze the rest.  


Cooking the Gnocchi:

Boil the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float to the top.  You can't screw up the time on these.  When they float they are done.  If you can boil water you can make gnocchi.   It's my favourite thing to make and to eat of all time.  This is when simplicity is at it's best.

I tried a new way of cooking the gnocchi after they are boiled and strained and added them to a saute pan with olive oil and sauteed them until they got a bit of a  golden color.   Once they have crispy golden edges you can add your sauce to the saute pan.

You can add different kinds of sauces but my preference is to keep it simple and traditional.

The sauce I used was some sauce I had made previously using some great farmer's market tomatoes and crushed garlic and a touch of basil oil. 

Once the gnocchi and sauce are heated and combined serve it with grated fresh parmesan.

These things are like fresh light pillows of goodness in your mouth when you eat them.   The frozen ones can be like heavy lumps of pasta.   It took me a couple of hours to make the fresh gnocchi but it was so worth it.  I am going to do what the Italians do and make big batches of gnocchi and sauce on a sunday and have it ready to go any day during the week.

DEEEELISHHHH!!

Enjoy!

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