Gno WayPosted: August 22, 2011
I was feeling ambitious this weekend. With the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated in hand, I decided to make potato gnocchi.
Now, I love gnocchi. Gnocchi in vodka cream sauce is one of my favorite dishes. I’ve even made a reasonably tasty version of these little dumplings out of ricotta. But the real thing? Never.
Well, there’s a first time for everything. And while I consider this definitely the first attempt out of many to come — I’m pretty happy with the results. I also learned a few things while making potato gnocchi from scratch.
Things I learned while making potato gnocchi:
1. Warm potatoes are extremely messy. (My kitchen table is still covered with a starchy film.)
2. I have little to no patience, especially when trying to make fork indentations on small pieces of squishy dough.
3. It really sucks to make a labor-intensive meal in a hot and humid kitchen. (See #2.)
4. It takes about 45 minutes to make 86 gnocchi. (Yes I counted. The heat slowed me down a bit. I think.)
5. A sauce made of butter, shallots and sage is mighty tasty, and really easy to put together.
So, the next time you’re feeling ambitious and have some hours to kill, try making your own gnocchi. Why not? Just go for it.
Potato Gnocchi in a Browned Butter & Sage Sauce
For the gnocchi:
– 2 lbs of russet potatoes (about 4 really large potatoes)
– 1 large egg
– ¾ cup of flour plus more for dusting
– 1 teaspoon of salt (plus for more salting water)
For the sauce:
– 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
– 1 small shallot, minced
– 1 teaspoon of minced fresh sage
– 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice
– ¼ teaspoon of salt
Heat your oven to 450º.
Poke each potato 8 times with a pairing knife. Microwave the potatoes until slightly softened at the ends, about 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes halfway through cooking. Transfer potatoes directly to the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The potatoes should yield to gentle pressure.
Holding each potato with a clean kitchen towel or potholder, peel with the pairing knife. Process potato through a ricer or food mill (see photo!) onto a rimmed baking sheet. Gently spread the potato bits into an even layer and let them cool about 5 minutes.
Transfer 3 cups of warm potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, gently stir in the egg until just combined. Sprinkle flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Still using fork, gently combine until no pockets of dry flour remain. Press mixture into a rough ball, transfer to a lightly floured counter and gently knead until smooth but slightly sticky, about 1 minute. Lightly dust counter with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces. On a floured counter, gently roll each piece into a ½ inch thick rope. Cut rope into ¾ inch pieces. Holding a fork with the tines facing down, press each dough piece cut side down against the tines with the thumb of your other hand to create an indentation. Roll dough down tines to form ridges on sides. (See note.) Transfer formed gnocchi to the baking sheet and repeat process with the remaining dough.
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until butter is browned about 1 ½ minutes. Off heat, add minced shallot and sage, stir until shallots are fragrant about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Cover to keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add the gnocchi into the water and cook until firm and just cooked through, about 90 seconds. They will rise to the top after 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to the skillet with the sauce. Gently toss gnocchi with the sauce, serve and eat.
These potato dumplings are fluffy, just like tasty little pillows. Although mine look like pillows someone stitched together in the dark. Or caterpillars. But still, I tried! The brown butter and sage sauce — while probably not the best thing for you — is rich and oniony. It goes great with the gnocchi.