Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Potato Gnocchi

I'm so excited. Today I made something that I have always wanted to try, but thought it would be too difficult. I am thrilled to learn for myself that it was easy! So easy. And what a budget-friendly recipe. Potato, flour, egg, salt. Topped with a meatless tomato sauce and served with a good loaf of bread -- what a wonderful, homey meal. And by making my own gnocchi I have proven that I am indeed an Italian at heart.

This is the recipe I used -- modified from the
Joy of Cooking's. I used this video (the bottom one) to learn how to roll the gnocchi. I have watched a friend do it, but it's been a while and I wasn't watching closely.

We topped this with my Friday Sauce. Friday Sauce just means it's meatless. I usually cook Italian sausage or meatballs in my sauce, but not on Friday. So, to make my regular sauce, just brown some Italian sausages in the oil before you add the garlic and tomato sauce, or add browned meatballs after the sauce has cooked for about an hour (then cook in the sauce until the meatballs are completely cooked inside). I created this sauce to suit my family's taste -- it is a little on the sweet side, and is very red. But, it's what we like.

Sadly, I only have the picture before they were cooked and the empty bowl. My husband and children descended upon them so fast that I had nothing to photograph. Next time I will double the gnocchi recipe. I think I'll be making this again very soon.

By the way, my
Francis looked up gnocchi and it means (in Italian) "lump." So don't feel badly if that's what they look like!

The dough (in the green bowl) and some of the gnocchi rolled out.

A close-up of the gnocchi.

The empty serving bowl. Not one left.

Potato Gnocchi

2-1/2 lbs. baking potatoes (for me this was 6 medium potatoes)
1 egg
1 -1/3 c. flour, plus extra for rolling
1 t. salt
2 - 3 T. butter, melted

Wash and prick potatoes and bake in a 400 degree F oven for about an hour, or until done. Cool for a few minutes and then cut open potato and scoop out pulp. Using a ricer, food mill, or a sieve, rice or mill the potato, or push it through a sieve with the back of a spoon (that is what I did) into a medium bowl (should be about 2-2/3 cup potato when finished). Add the egg, flour and salt, and stir with a spoon until you cannot stir any more. Using your hands, knead until soft and smooth. Dough should be slightly sticky and not very dry.

To roll the gnocchi, cut the dough in six large pieces. Take one piece and roll it in a log until it is about 3/4 inch wide. Cut it into 3/4-inch pieces. Flour them lightly. Then, using a fork (this is where you need the video), push each piece with your thumb onto the fork and roll it down the tines (it will curl and have a hollow in the back). Before rolling all of the gnocchi, make a few, cook them (in boiling salted water until they float -- about 2 minutes) and make sure they are not smooshy or slimy. If they are, add a few tablespoons of flour to the dough. Mine were good -- slightly chewy, but still pretty soft. Once the dough is right, roll out the rest of the gnocchi. Once the gnocchi are all rolled out, put half of the gnocchi into the boiling water. Boil until they float. Remove from water by straining with a slotted spoon. Place in bowl and drizzle with melted butter. Cook the rest of the gnocchi. When all are cooked and drained, top with sauce and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

(Gnocchi can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. If frozen, cook about a minute longer.)

Tomato Sauce

3 T. olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic
2 (28 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 (28 oz. ) can tomato puree
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 1/4 t. dried oregano
1 1/4 t. dried basil
1/2 t. ground pepper
3 T. Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes. Pour in olive oil and turn down to low. Crush garlic into hot oil (if you don't have a garlic crusher, mince it finely and add it to the oil) and cook on low (if it is cooking quickly, remove from heat) for about two to three minutes. Garlic should be cooking very slowly (for a roasted flavor) not cooking quickly. Add tomato sauce and tomato puree to garlic and stir. Add sugar, salt, oregano, basil and pepper. Stir and simmer, covered, for an hour. Taste and adjust sugar or salt and pepper -- to taste -- if necessary. Add red wine and stir. Cook for about 30 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning again if necessary.

This recipe will make much more then you need for the gnocchi. I just freeze the rest. It makes great sauce for pizza, too.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Ooh Barbara - I too have always wanted to make these, but shied away! I might have to try them now! They look delicious!