Thursday, December 9, 2010

gnocchi

For a long time I was scared of making gnocchi.  It always seemed like too hard a trick to get those little dumplings the right kind of dense and not have them end up like tiny potato hockey pucks.

I read somewhere that if you add a sweet potato to the regular potatoes, even if you are a less skilled gnocchi maker, you will still end up with good gnocchi because it lightens the dough.  I'm not sure it's true, but it cured my gnocchi phobia, so I'm sticking to it.  (The sweet potato also tastes good.)

Last night Lisa came over and since it's gotten COLD and gnocchi is a great 'stick to your ribs' dish for winter, I made sweet potato gnocchi with corn, hedgehog mushrooms, and sage.

I am sorry there are no photos from the gnocchi making process.  My hands were too sticky and I was the only one home, but there's a pretty good video to help you out here.  (although, I don't shock my gnocchi in cold water after boiling it because Steven says it's just not done.  He grew up in Italy so about this kind of thing, I don't argue.)

Sweet potato gnocchi

3 pounds potatoes, including 1 large sweet potato (all homegrown :) )
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
1 extra large egg

I like to bake my potatoes because we keep the house pretty cold in the winter and it gives me an excuse to hang out around the oven, but most recipes call for boiling them.  Whichever you decide, it's best to cook the potatoes whole.  It takes a long time to boil them that way, but it's important because keeps the potatoes from getting too watery.

Once your potatoes are cooked, let them cool a little and peel them.  Push them though a ricer on to a lightly floured, big, wooden cutting board.  Sift some flour on top and make a well in the middle.  Crack the egg into the well and using a fork begin to incorporate the flour, egg and potato.  Bring it all together and form a nice soft dough.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's dry to the touch.   Cut the dough into chunks and roll it into little snakes about 3/4" around.  Sprinkle the snakes with a little flour and cut them into chunks about 1" long.  Then flick the chunks off the end of a fork to give them that nice gnocchi shape.

Boil a big pot of water and cook the gnocchi in batches, removing them with a slotted spoon when they begin to float.  Toss them with a little vegetable oil, lay them out on a cookie sheet or platter and set them aside.

At this point you can also cover them and store them in the fridge for up to a couple days.

For the corn and mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter
1 pound hedgehog mushrooms torn into bite sized pieces
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (I don't know if it's fair to call it fresh sage, since I picked it off the frozen plant in our backyard, but whatever.) 
2 cups corn (homegrown and then frozen this September)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

In a big frying pan heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When it's hot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and wait until it foams and melts and add the mushrooms, half of the thyme and a pinch of salt.  Saute them until they are cooked through, resisting the urge to stir too soon so they don't release their water and get all soggy.  When the mushrooms are done, add the corn and some pepper and stir to make sure it's all mixed together and heated through.  Remove the vegetables from heat and set aside. 

For this next part I used two big, non-stick frying pans, dividing things up evenly between them.  I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with non-stick pans, but for this they are pretty useful because you can get your gnocchi crispy without them sticking.

Heat the remaining butter and when it starts to brown add the shallots, remaining thyme, the sage and a pinch of salt.  When the shallots are soft, add the gnocchi and cook them until they are crispy and brown them on two sides.  When the gnocchi is ready add the corn and mushrooms and saute until it's all heated through.  Stir in the parsley, check the seasoning and serve on a big platter.

This recipe probably serves 8 to 10 people, but if you're serving just 3, don't worry, it's delicious left over.  (I'm having it for lunch right now.)

18 comments:

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

yum! when i was abroad in florence, i took a cooking class and we made gnocchi...so much goes into it. they are so delish though!

Dancing Branflake said...

Oh my goodness you are amazing! Can you please hurry up and open your restaurant already?

AbbieBabble said...

That's a good tip- I've been wanting to make gnocchi for forever, but I'm terrified of it. I guess I'll just have to get a sweet potato!

chiara said...

so oooo jealous right now!!!!!

Mo Pie, Please said...

This sounds amazing! THanks for the recipe, I may pass it on to my husband who is feeling very uninspired in the kitchen!

Rachel said...

This looks so wonderful! I've always held off because I don't have a ricer - I should go do some research and see if there is something else I can use.

abigail said...

I wonder if you could push the potatoes through a colander or something. hmm.
Or maybe someone should get you a ricer for the holidays!

Ana Degenaar said...

That looks amazing! I made them for the first time this year and I have made them 4 times after that one... delicious!

la petite coquine said...

This sounds absolutely delicious! When I was younger I called gnocchi "nuckies", but I am ready to try my hand at them!

Deanna Pai said...

Oh my God, this looks and sounds delicious. I've never heard of sweet potato gnocchi before this, but the idea of it is enough for me to try it.

Brandi said...

How did you know I've been wanting to make sweet potato gnocchi? It's seriously the next thing on my to-make list, though I wasn't sure how to serve it. I'll definitely try it with corn...

pen.ny said...

MY HATS OFF TO YOU. I had gnocchi the other night at dinner and said to S....god this is one dish I don't think I could EVER make. I mean not that I'm SUCH a cook or anything, more of a baker but seriously Abigail....WAY TO GO. It looks so delicious.

(And two thumbs up to left over idea - always the best!)

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Sounds fun to eat and say

Noelle at Gray Paint Decor said...

I've always been scared of making it as well. Looks fantastic!

Jazzy E (hivennn) said...

so lovely x hivennn.

Natasha said...

This looks delicious! I've always wanted to make my own gnocchi, I will have to give this a try!

lisa said...

i also had abigail's delicious gnocchi for lunch...it WAS good!

Marisa Midori said...

Gnocchi is one of those things that has always weirded me out. It's like starch wrapped in starch (and I love me some starch). But this looks so delicious I might just have to give them another try.