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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gnocchi

Gnocchi in rich, gooey cheesy truffle cream sauce
Gnocchi (pronounced "Neeyo-kee") is an Italian potato dumpling that's eaten like pasta. It can be covered in any sauce you want. In Italy, you can buy them in near the bakery where they're made fresh daily. They're light and fluffy like little clouds. But in the US, unless you're eating in a really high end restaurant, chances are you're eating factory made gnocchi that's been sitting on shelf for a long time and is kind of dense and powdery.

It's a great pasta to make at home because it's quick, easy, takes only a few ingredients and doesn't require any special skills or tools. (Though, I do this so much that I finally shelled out the $5 for a gnocchi paddle to use instead of the fork for pressing in the indentations.)

It reheats really well for several days, so it makes great leftovers. (Though, the only way I've ever had gnocchi leftovers is by hiding them under the carrots in the veggie drawer. Ha!)

I use instant potatoes which makes it even simpler. Making this recipe from beginning to end takes about 45 minutes and the recipe feeds about 4 really hungry people. This is a great starter "pasta" if you've ever wanted to make your own but felt overwhelmed.

It's also a great recipe to get your kids involved in the kitchen because you can leave all the rolling out to them. I mean... it is literally like working with Play-Dough. So, wouldn't they be the world's foremost experts anyway?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3.75oz) instant potato flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 oz) boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
Directions:
  1. Mix instant potato flakes, salt and water in a medium bowl.
  2. Knead in the flour.
  3. Knead in the eggs.
    Eggs added...

    ... and all kneaded in
  4. Knead the mix on a floured counter until well incorporated and it begins to feel the same consistency as Play-Dough. Divide into pieces a little smaller than your fist. Then divide those into half.
    Smaller than my fist, then half that again.
  5. Flour a large platter or baking sheet to hold the finished gnocchi.
  6. Roll the dough into a long roll about the thickness of a pinky-finger.
    Rolled out, ready to cut
  7. Cut into 3/4" pieces.
  8. Gently press and roll the dough against the back of a fork to leave indentations in it.
    ...gently press against the back of the fork (or gnocchi paddle)
    .... and roll
    and presto!

    Back of the dumpling

    Front of the dumpling
  9. Lay them on the floured platter or tray to dry for a few hours. (You can refrigerate and cook within a week or freeze for up to 3 months.)
    Drying on the tray
  10. To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  11. Carefully add gnocchi. They will cook in about 90 seconds (or 2 minutes if frozen).
    All done!
  12. Add to sauce and enjoy!
Gnocchi in rich, gooey cheesy truffle cream sauce

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