May 23, 2010

Potato Dumplings/Gnocchi

Gnocchi, pronounced as "nyo kee" is one of our favorite Italian dishes. The word, Gnocchi is the plural for the word, gnocco which is the singular form. It is a small dumpling made with potatoes, flour, and sometimes with cheese. The shape of this dumpling is form and cut by hand, and pre-cooked in boiling water. It is served in the same manner as any pasta, favorably with either a white, red sauce, or a simple dressing with your favorite vegetables to bring out the freshness and lightness of these dumplings. I have seen it pan fried in oil and tossed with mixed greens. For this installment, I am going to serve it with a simple tomato sauce with artichokes and basil.
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
a pinch of salt
a sprig of sage
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
1. In a large pot, steam potatoes until they are tender and soft, about 30 minutes. Drained and mash finely into a bowl or a floured board. (If you have a vegetable mill or potato ricer--this will work nicely)
2. In a large mixing bowl, add egg and salt to the center of the mashed potatoes. Stir the egg into the mashed potatoes and once it is mixed in, add in flour and fold in to mix. When it starts to clump together knead gently to form a smooth dough.
3. On a floured surface, roll and cut the dough into pieces with a floured knife. Using the palm of your hand shape each pieces into a long thin roll and cut each roll into bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch). Lay all the cut pieces of dough on to a floured tray and sprinkle some flour to prevent it from sticking. Using the tines of the fork with the concave part facing up, dip the tips of your fingers with flour; take a piece of the dough and press it down against the tines of the fork. This will form a nice indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other. You can also press the dough on a cheese grater if you like. Continue in this manner with the rest of the dough.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil. Add the sage and a pinch of salt. In the meantime, set another bowl of ice water near the stove.
6. Drop pieces of dough into the boiling water and cook until they float. Remove them with a slotted spoon into the ice water to stop the cooking. Let it sit in the water for about 5 minutes, drained and add to a bowl. Toss in the oil and store in a cool place. In the meantime prepare your favorite sauce or vegetables. Serve warm.
Printable Recipe

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