How to make fresh gnocchi, among other things

Way back when I posted the how to make fresh pasta post, Xena asked about how to make fresh Gnocchi.

“Can we get a gnocchi post? I *still* can’t get that right.”

Ask, and you shall receive.

Today after my 90 minute trainer ride I decided to put together a batch of gnocchi.  Except, while I was sitting there eating a quick meal I got distracted by a few cooking magazines.  By time I was done reading I decided I’d also make some fresh bread, fresh pesto and throw together some peanut butter as well.

Making gnocchi does take some time, both for the non-active parts (baking the potatoes), and then the active parts (making the gnocchi).  It’s easy cooking, it just takes some patience.

First up – grab yourself about 2 or so pounds of Russet Potatoes.  Stab some holes in them, and put throw them on a baking sheet.

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Toss them into the oven at 350*F for about 75-90 minutes.  Or until they feel soft enough that you think you could scoop out their insides with a spoon.

Once done, take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly.  Generally I ignore this step and burn my hands a bunch of times.  Don’t let them cool fully though – otherwise a few steps later is tough.

Go ahead and scoop out the insides.

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From there we employ a special utility – called a potato ricer.  This  contraption takes your potato pulp and pushes it out into little strands and essentially makes it a much lighter substance.

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From there, you end up with a bowl ol’ pile of potato strands.

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After that, make a well in the potatoes. Then dump in half a cup of flour.  Then 3 egg yolks, and then another half a cup of flour.  Also toss in a tablespoon of salt.  If you forget to put in the first half a cup of flour below the eggs (like I did), no worries, just toss it in on top.

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Then go ahead and chop it into the mixture.  You could probably use a spatula for this.  I used a dough scrapper, which is handy for a number of other things.

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From there, roll it into a big ball, using flour as required to make it non-sticky.

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Then roll it out into a big long snake about .5” wide, and then slice and dice it into smaller pieces.

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Now you can use the back of a fork to make those nifty groves, or you can use a spiffy gnocchi paddle.  Or you can not bother with little groves.

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Now you just repeat until you’ve filled up a baking sheet or two.  If you don’t plan to cook them right away, freeze them on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a Ziploc bag.

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So…time to cook.

First, salted boiling water.  Then a side non-stock pan with a little bit of olive oil in it.

Now, toss the gnocchi in semi-small batches into the water, and then once they float, transfer them over to the pan.  You can get a pretty good rhythm going and double-team them.

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The goal of the nonstick pan is to add a light textured crust to the outside that’s golden brown (this is the secret to really really good gnocchi).

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From there, you mix it up with whatever you want.  I decided to make some fresh pesto using a few cheap basil plants I found at Whole Foods (it was overall cheaper than just buying it).

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Here’s the recipe I use.

And once it’s all done, you can put it together and make it look fancy.

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That black stuff – that’s a reduced balsamic vinegar sauce. Essentially I take a big bottle of balsamic vinegar and reduce it down to a thick syrup.  It’s quite good…on basically anything.  I also usually toss some parmesan cheese on it too, but I forgot to while taking photos.

Oh, remember the bread I got distracted by?  From this month’s Gourmet magazine.  The recipe isn’t posted yet there – but it’s called “Crusty Cornstalk Rolls”, when it does appear likely in the next few weeks. It’s super-easy to make and looks sorta pretty.

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So there ya go…dinner.

Oh wait…peanut butter…right – here ya go.  Just used the BlendTec blender to spin it all together.

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11 Comments

  1. A gnocchi paddle? REALLY? You must have a huge kitchen with TONS of storage! Me and my metal cabinets are jealous.

    Reply
  2. Man, you are unreal.
    That looks so good.

    I used to have a knack for cooking, but for some reason it fizzled out. Probably because everyone wanted me to cook for them.

    Reply
  3. I was thinking the same thing as Kelly! I have a huge kitchen but still not enough storage space for gizmos – and you seem to have every gizmo known to the cooking world. Where do you keep thems all?! (I’m am soooo jealous of that blender.) Thanks for the gnocchi tutorial!

    Reply
  4. Oh my gosh … gnocchi is the BOMB. I used to make it with my grandmother, but it was so time consuming for me that I usually just buy it from the grocery store now. It also happens to be one of the best pre-race foods imaginable.

    On a side note – you must completely dazzle the ladies with all your cooking skills. I can’t even imagine.

    Reply
  5. i still don’t understand how you can do so much with your days. I’m in awe.

    Reply
  6. Only you would have a gnocchi paddle. So when are you trying out for Top Chef?

    If it counts any, I made home made black bean soup yesterday after the marathon. A big cup of that put me to sleep by 7:30 pm.

    Reply
  7. thats it…me and the bride are moving in with you…..

    got room???

    Reply
  8. yummy…I should never read your blog when I’m hungry…the drool just kills the keyboard!! Do you add anything other than peanuts when making PB??

    Reply
  9. The gnocchi looks great and you are improving my culinary skills, but the paddle??!! Where do you put all of the gadgets, even more, how do you remember that you have them:-)

    Reply
  10. What paddle is that? I’m Christmas shopping for an Italian foodie who loves making gnocchi. Can you recommend a good brand/site? Thanks!

    Reply
  11. I got it locally, but this one below is basicaly identical (and in fact, a bit easier to use):

    link to amazon.com

    Good luck!

    Reply

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