One word: Gnocchi. Delicious, filling pillows of awesomeness. (oh yea- pronounced roughly knee-aw-kee)
Gnocchi are basically Italian dumplings. Traditionally made with potatoes, but also can be made with ricotta cheese (among other things). They look intimidating, right? Wrong- probably one of the easiest pasta's you can make. Have you ever watched that show that only needs 5 ingredients for her recipes? Well yea- this only needs 4 ingredients- FOUR- that is it.
It might not be the quickest dinner- but the whole process took me about 1-1 1/2 hours (and I was taking my sweet time). That is also including boiling the potatoes. You can eat the gnocchi straight from the water after boiling, but they are SO MUCH better fried in a bit of butter/oil after to get that crusty exterior.
Have you ever bought fresh gnocchi in the store? Well you will never again- it probably cost me around $2 to make all this pasta- which would probably be around 3-4 store bought packages. Saving money AND making something downright impressive. Score.
To pair off the gnocchi I made quick blanched then sauteed string beans with pine nuts in garlic butter/oil sauce. It is a good texture trade off and the flavors are clean and simple.
Best part is that if you have any left over you just lay out on a sheet tray, freeze them, then into a zip lock bag and you have a quick easy dinner ready to go whenever! *Go ahead and pat yourself on the back after making this recipe*
Other quick thoughts: You don't need a ricer, I used a cheese grater (which I assume most people have- just use the larger holes because the smaller ones don't work as well), and if you really don't have a box cheese grater- you can always just mash the potatoes. The potatoes I guessed on the weight- I have pics though. The flour will vary, I started with 1/3 of a cup then worked my way up to 2/3 cup, 1 cup etc.
I also skipped the "making ridges" part- which is a thing to do because the ridges hold sauce onto the pasta- butttttt the technique wasn't working with my dough- so for the first time making gnocchi I decided to cut my losses and not do the ridges.
- about 2lbs of potatoes (use Russets)
- about 1 cup of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 egg, beaten
Directions (also see pictures below)
- Peel your potatoes. Put in a pot, cover with cold water, add a tbsp of salt to the water and bring to a boil.
- When the potatoes are tender, drain(time will vary on size of potatoes). You can tell when they are done when you can stick a fork in the potato and it slides off the fork clean. (You can also bake in the oven, but I felt boiling would be faster).
- While they are cooling, get your station set up- get a large pot of water to boil for later and also a large sheet pan dusted in flour to lay your gnocchi after you cut them.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, grate them on the large holes of your box grater (or rice them, if you are cool enough to own one of these fascinating ricer devices).
- Add the grated potatoes to a large bowl. Add your salt and egg.
- Then add the flour, I started by adding 1/3 cup at a time- you don't want to add too much flour, so start with a little, see the texture, then add more if it is still sticky. Making this "dough" will seem odd and feel a little weird because it is potatoes. But the dough will come together and finally be able to form a ball.
- Turn out the ball onto a floured work surface and cut into 8 pieces (ya know- like you would cut a pizza).
- Always make sure your surface is floured- So then take one section at a time and roll into a log, I would say roughly about a little fatter then your thumb. Then cut into 1 inch pieces and then transfer to your floured baking sheet.
- Repeat will all sections of your dough.
- When all your gnocchi are done, salt the boiling water and add in batches- don't over crowd the pot. When they float to the top they are done! When they float to the top be sure to take them out right away, if you leave them in the water too long they will disintegrate.
- Serve with your favorite sauce! Lighter sauces work better with these delicate pillow pastas.
|I included the fork in the pic so you can see the size of the potatoes|
|Set up your workstation|
Gnocchi w/ String Beans and Pine Nuts in a Lemon Garlic Sauce
- about 1lb of string beans cleaned and trimmed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp of pine nuts
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1 lemon
- pecorino cheese
- In a small skillet, add the pine nuts and toast for a minute or so on med-low heat. Remove from heat and reserve.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter. Smash the garlic cloves (but try and keep them intact) and add to the oil. When lightly golden, remove the garlic cloves.
- Add the gnocchi in batches to the hot oil and pan fry until golden on one side then flip over and brown on the other.
- Take out and let drain on paper towels, continue working in batches until all are browned.
- Blanch the string beans first (I just threw them in the left over pasta water for a minute) then add to the left over garlic oil and saute until tender but still crisp.
- Zest the lemon over the string beans and toss to coat.
- Gently toss the gnocchi and string beans together. Top with pine nuts and grated pecorino cheese.