Gnocchi. One of the most delicious little bites you’ll ever taste, ESPECIALLY if they are homemade…actually only if they are homemade! I never knew I liked gnocchi until I took my first bite of the freshly made decadent little pillows. The packaged version will never find its way into my kitchen again!! Below is my recipe for gnochhi, as well as some other delicious recipes that we made during a handmade gnocchi class that I taught last week!
We started out with a fun cocktail that includes a few classic Italian flavors! A Blood Orange Campari Spritzer!
3 oz Campari
6 Oz Blood Orange Juice
6 Oz Sparkling Wine
Mix the 1st 2 ingredients together & pour over ice. Top with the sparkling wine & a twist of orange. It has a great balance of bitter, sweet & tangy!!
Once the cocktail was in hand, we moved on to a delicious Winter Greens Salad. We used some of my home brewed Hibiscus Apple Cider Vinegar, but below is a video & recipe for a basic vinaigrette – feel free to use whatever vinegar you like!
For the Salad itself:
Assortment of Greens (Arugula, Radicchio & Spring Mix are a nice blend)
2-3 Oranges, Segmented
1 Fennel Bulb, Sliced Thin
1/2 Cup Feta, Crumbled
Add all your greens to the bowl and toss together. Toss with your dressing. Sprinkle your fennel, oranges & feta on top and serve!!
Onto the very fun job of making Gnocchi! Though this can be made ahead and frozen (which is great to have on hand for busy weeks) this truly is a great activity to do with family & friends. After the dough is mixed together, it is a fun way to catch up on the day and many hands make light work! Below is my recipe for homemade gnocchi.
A few tips:
- Make sure to use Russet or Idaho Potatoes. Other kinds can hold too much moisture or have a waxy texture requiring the addition of more flour. More flour=more gummy texture=no thank you!!
- Bake your potatoes. Again we don’t want to add moisture, so boiling=no bueno.
- Peel your potatoes when hot & grate while still warm. Make your dough as soon as potatoes cool & shape/cook as soon as the dough is done.
- Try not to overcrowd your pot when cooking. I will add about 1/2 of a sheet tray worth at a time to cook. If we add too much, the weight of them will cause them to stick together on the bottom of the pot.
- Make sure your water is at a rolling boil the entire time so they cook through quickly – the long they have to sit in the water, the more gummy of a texture they produce.
For Gnocchi (Serves 4):
- 1 1/4 lbs Baked & Grated Russet Potatoes (I use a digital Scale…this is approximately 2.5 Cups, but we all measure differently!!)
- 1 Cup Flour (Extra in case of stickiness & for rolling out.)
- 1 Egg, Beaten
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
Bake the potatoes at 350 for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until tender. While still hot, use a towel to hold them while you peel. Grate (or rice) your potatoes while they are still hot, on the small holes of the grater, but not the zesting side. Add flour, salt & pepper. Gently toss together just to coat the potatoes. Once potatoes are completely coated, create a well in the center of the mixture and add in your egg. Knead the dough until it is just combined, about 2 minutes, you can do this right in the bowl. My advice is to wash hands after it is mostly combined, and the ncome back for the last 30 seconds to bring it together. That makes it easier to discern whether it needs more flour or not. We don’t want our dough to be sticky, but anything will stick to hands when they are covered! If it is still sticky, add about 1 T at a time until it doesn’t stick to your hands. It is also a good trick to flour your hands a bit to avoid sticking. Divide the dough into 4 portions, cover 3 of them. Flour your surface and roll 1 portion at a time into a long snake, about 20”. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 1” pieces. You can then use a gnocchi board for texture or leave as is. Repeat with other portions, while placing finished gnocchi onto a parchment lined sheet tray. Put on a pot of boiling water and add gnocchi in batches when it reaches a rolling boil. It will only take 3-4 minutes for them to be fully cooked. Once they have floated to the top of the water, they have about a minute left. Remove using a wok spider or a slotted spoon. Top with your sauce of choice & enjoy!
For our gnocchi, we made 2 different simple sauces to enjoy. We did a quick marinara and a brown butter and sage sauce.
For the brown butter and sage sauce to serve 4:
1 Stick of Butter
4 Large Sage Leaves, Chopped
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
Add the butter to a small skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Let this melt, separate and brown at a fairly low temperature, so as not to burn the milk solids, but nicely toast them. Every heat element and pan is a bit different, but it should take about 7 minutes or so for 1 stick of butter to get to that point over medium heat. Keep an eye on it though, yours may take a bit longer or not quite as long! Once you smell that nutty toastiness, make sure to watch. You can stir periodically to keep the heat evenly dispersed. Once brown, turn off the heat, toss in your sage & season with salt & pepper.
We then move onto our marinara. It can simmer for as little as 25 minutes, or you can let it go much longer to develop some deeper flavors…either way it’s delicious with a sprinkle of parm & fresh basil!!
To finish off our perfect Italian feast, we made a Lemon Olive Oil cake. So simple, light & tasty! It’s nice because it doesn’t require a mixer, is SO moist, and doesn’t require any decorations! I generally dust with powdered sugar and garnish with a few slices of lemon, but we served ours still warm the other night, so it was perfect as is. The link for the recipe is below. I hope you enjoy these dishes and please let me know if you have any questions!