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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pesto Gnocchi

There are several versions and methods for making gnocchi. Most common are potato gnocchi and ricotta gnocchi. Potato is easier, in my opinion as with ricotta you have to let the cheese drain using a cheesecloth usually over night. Typiclly, gnocchi are rolled off the edge of a fork for the extra grooves (better to catch sauce with) but when I want to make a ton and freeze for later, I tend to go the easier route without any grooves.

For the gnocchi:
4 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into sixths
1-1/4 c plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Generous pinch freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, place the potatoes and cover with cold salted water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Using a ricer, or grate them on the large holes of a box grater....grate/rice the potato's. Place the potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer (don't pile the riced potatoes into mounds). Set aside to cool.

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and, using a spatula, gently mix in the flour, yolks, salt, nutmeg, and pepper until just combined and a soft dough is formed. Don't over mix the dough or the gnocchi will be unpleasantly tough and mealy.

On a well-floured work surface, turn out the potato dough, and divide into 6 equal parts. With the palms of both hands gently roll each part into a "rope" 3/4-inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife cut each "rope" on an angle into 3/4-inch-long pieces.
(If you wish to shape the gnocchi: Hold a salad fork in one hand so it rests on the work surface at a 45-degree angle with the tines curving up. Place a piece of the dough at the top of the tines and hold it in place with your free thumb. In one gentle motion, quickly press and roll the dough along the tines. The gnocchi should have a small dent in one side and shallow grooves on the other, perfectly suited for holding a sauce.)
Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet pan. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before cooking. ***Cooks note: you can freeze them at this stage in a air tight freezer bag. They usually don't last longer than 60 days in my freezer.***
To cook the gnocchi, place in a pot of boiling, salted water. Gnocchi take about 1-3 minutes at most. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss into pesto sauce. Serve immediately.
Basil Pesto:
2 c loosely packed basil leaves
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp minced garlic (about one clove)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Gnocchi is one of those foods that I've never eaten or made, yet I am totally intrigued by. And I love pesto, so it looks like now I'll have to use your recipe to make it!