An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Gnocchi Party!

Last night I hosted a gnocchi making party for three of my favorite people.  We've been planning this event for awhile, and September 13th turned out to be the magic number.  Two of the guests had previously had a hugely successful wonton making party, so now we moved onto Italian cuisine at my house.  The menu besides the gnocchi consisted of:
  • Kale Chips
  • Tomato and Balsamic Bruschetta
  • Blue Cheese, Fig and Carmelized Onion Bruschetta
  • Mediterranean Carrot and Chickpea Salad
  • Fresh Tomato and Garlic Sauce
  • Fresh Pesto (parsley and walnuts in addition to the basil)
An interesting aspect about making something as a group, is that each person can indulge their own creative urges.  And that we did...!

These were the famous dice shape or aka medium sized marshmallow variety.
I went with a basic cylinder/half moon shape with light fork markings.

These were grooved with a fork, and then artfully punctured as a final touch.

These were the most professional of them all...cut into diamonds, and then grooved.

The night also consisted of good wine, a variety of music, forgotten arugula and multiple fashion statements with the cloth napkins. 

Mediterranean Carrot and Chickpea Salad adapted from another lovely recipe

The final product

Potato Gnocchi
adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe

2 pounds russet potatoes, washed
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour + more for mixing dough
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven for 400 degrees.  Wash and dry potatoes.  Wrap each in foil and bake until fully cooked (at least 1 hour, depending on size of each potato).   Take out of oven and let cool for about 10 minutes so they are easier to handle.

Carefully unwrap potatoes and while holding with a towel, peel with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.  Cut peeled potatoes in half and gently push through a potato ricer.  A potato ricer is ideal for the occasion, and looks sort of like a huge garlic press with holes, and can be purchased for a pretty fair price at any kitchen or department-type store.  But if you are in a pinch, you could shred them with a grater, or a grater setting on a food processor, though you must be really careful to not turn them into mashed potatoes.  The main purpose is to give the potatoes as much surface area as possible, which the ricer does quite well.

Rice/grate all the potatoes into a large bowl.  Pour the 1 1/4 cup flour and salt over the potatoes and mix into a dough with your (clean) hands.  You will most likely need to add more flour, so the dough isn't sticky. 

Start a large pot of water bowling at this point, so that as you complete a set of gnocchi, you can start the cooking process as soon as possible.

Divide dough into quarters.  Roll each quarter into a long rope (as pictured above) onto a cutting board or large surface.  Cut off small 1/2-1" pieces.  Form them any way you like.  The traditional way is to shape into a long cylinder, and then take a fork's back side of the prongs, and form grooves.  It is sort of awkward at first, but as you keep going, you find your own personal system.  Keep them separated on a plate/cutting board as you finish. 

*Note: you may want to take 1-2 formed gnocchi, and boil them first to test that your flour/potato mixture is going to stay together as a dough.  If it falls apart in the boiling water, you need to add more flour to your dough!

 Take first set (the first 1/4 of dough) and add to boiling water.  They will immediately sink.  They rise to the top when done (about 3-5 minutes).  Take out with slotted spoon, or small mesh strainer if you don't have one.  Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

You can eat these as is, or do what we did, and saute them with olive oil, salt and pepper to cook in an added flavor.  Top with your favorite red sauce or pesto.  You can also space uncooked gnocchi on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour.  Remove from sheet and put in plastic bag or container in the freezer for a quick meal in the future!

Buon appetito!


greenplatedinners said...

yumm! Great blog, Alli!

Ben and I don't usually eat regular potatoes, but I'm thinking of trying it with Okinawan (purple) sweet potatoes and whole wheat flour =) I feel like it'd be such a win-win since Ben loves pasta and I love sweet potato!

haley said...

yumm! Great blog, Alli!

Ben and I don't usually eat regular potatoes, but I'm thinking of trying it with Okinawan (purple) sweet potatoes and whole wheat flour =) I feel like it'd be such a win-win since Ben loves pasta and I love sweet potato!

Alli S said...

Oh wow..I think you are on to something...such a win-win! That sounds really good and interesting. Let me know how they turn out. Love your blog too!

Anonymous said...

We just made a carrot-potato gnocchi last weekend to go along with a thai-spiced carrot soup. Amazing! It was my first time making gnocchi...and I need to make smaller pieces.

great blog, alli! cheers, patrick

haley said...

Oh. My. Goodness, Alli! I made the sweet potato gnocci yesterday and am going to post the blog about it ASAP! SOOO yummy! Thanks for the recipe again... it rocked our socks!

Alli S said...

Oh good..I have been so curious to know how they turned out! Can't wait to try your spin on it! I will check out your blog!