Cooking through the Snow Days: Dinner

I love gnocchi. I just love 'em. Those light and airy Italian potato dumplings. Well, not really a dumpling in the sense I think of them but that's the closest way I can think to describe them. I rarely get to eat them though because most Italian restaurants we go to, when we go out, rarely have gnocchi on the menu. Or they have it combined with some sauce I would never ever put in my mouth.

So, I began to think - how hard could this be to make? I found some recipes. Cooking Light has some great ones. Well, there are lots of great ones. Classic ones. And mostly they are all the same. And each time I tried to replicate this light and airy, mouth-watering deliciousness I ended up with wallpaper paste. YUCK!

Then a couple of years ago - maybe when I was first home with Comfort - I remember seeing an episode of Tyler's Ultimate on Food Network and he made gnocchi and he was very clear that the key was to bake the potato instead of boiling it. Well, heck - that's where I was going off the rails.

For those of you that have been reading this blog for a little while you may have guessed why I was boiling the potatoes. Yep, it's cheaper to use the cooktop than to turn on the oven. However, in this case you want the potatoes dry so it really does need an oven. So, use the oven. Or better yet do what I have done - I 'splurged' at Costco last month when they had an in-store coupon and bought a countertop toaster oven/ convection oven. I now use this for small cooking projects - like baking 1-2 lbs of potatoes.

Back to my story. One of the magazines I get for free - another reason I should keep up the weekly freebie post - is Bon Appetite. Mostly I flip through it and pass it along to my best friend because she's a much more adventurous cook and eater than am. But this time there was a recipe and 'help' section for gnocchi so I decided to try again.

Here's their recipe:
1 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes - scrub, dry, prick with a fork
1 C flour
1 egg yolk
1 tsp kosher salt
large pinch fresh nutmeg - I just grated it right into the bowl
olive oil
potato ricer or food mill
1. Bake potatoes for 1 hr at 400 degrees. Cool slightly and scoop out flesh and work through ricer. [I couldn't find my ricer for the life of me, so I used my pastry cuter to make sure there weren't any chunks.]
2. Spread out and let cool to room temp.
3. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment. Put potatoes in bowl. Add 1 C flour and toss to coat. Make a well in the middle and add egg yolk, salt, and nutmeg.
4. Stir with fork until it's all crumbly then turn it out on a floured surface. [I use this chopping board from IKEA as my baking board. I treat it like a cast iron skillet - I never use soap and water and only use it for floured items.] Knead the dough together adding additional flour as necessary.
5. Cut into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a 1 inch thick rope. The rope was as wide as my board - 18 inches. Cut into 3/4 inch pieces and place on lined baking sheet.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and working in small batches cook gnocchi. It's done when it floats to the top. Skim from pot and transfer to bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
[recipe from Bon Appetite, Feb 2010]

So, if you bought a 10 lb. bag of russet potatoes at Kroger last week like I did because they were such a great deal then thought - what on EARTH am I going to do with them - here's a great recipe. It's not time consuming but you do need to plan ahead. Plan ahead then leave it alone.

I've made this two days in a row because we didn't have any leftovers last night. Yep, it passed the Trial by Toddler. Comfort and Joy both cleaned their plates so today I'm making another batch to put in the freezer. Tomorrow I make some more since I hear that potatoes are still on sale this week and I think homemade gnocchi are now the Coolest Idea EVER!


February 10, 2010 at 5:09 AM Yani said...

Oh! Very delicious meal. Want to cook something like this too.

February 10, 2010 at 5:10 AM Jerry said...

My wife used to cook this recipe for me, I'm glad she knows how to do it.

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