I distinctly remember looking down at the menu and wanting to order a dish that I simply did not know how to pronounce. How the heck do you pronounce "gnocchi"? Yep, I tried "g-nock-ee" - that's not right. Through embarrassing trial and error I learned the proper pronunciation is "nyo-ch-ee". Once the pronunciation was sorted, the question became what is gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a surprisingly easy to make, little potato dumpling pasta. Yep, gnocchi is made from potatoes. A great batch of gnocchi will taste like little fluffy pillows that melt in your mouth. A few years ago we started making homemade gnocchi and we discovered the best part about making gnocchi is how much fun it is to make with kids.
4 medium russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Remove softened potatoes from the water, place on a clean tea towel to cool slightly. When the potatoes are cool enough to pick up (about 5 minutes) use the tea towel to rub off and peel off the potato skin.
Press the potatoes through a ricer. If you do not have a ricer, grate the potatoes with a box grater. Set the grated potatoes aside to cool before working further with them. Let them cool for about 20 minutes.
Use your hands to work the egg, potatoes and flour into a dough. Knead the dough until the dough is smooth - about 2-3 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add in more flour. Once a ball is formed, use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 6 portions.
Top the gnocchi with your favourite pasta sauce and grated parmesan cheese. Gnocchi works best with a meatless sauce. We made a super quick tomato sauce; simmering one can of whole tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. Gnocchi is equally lovely with fresh pesto.
It always amazes me when simple ingredients can create such a delicious dish. This recipe makes a lot of gnocchi - possibly more than you will need to feed a family of 4. Leave the leftover gnocchi on the flour dusted baking sheet and pop it in the freezer. Let the gnocchi freeze completely and then transfer to a resealable freezer bag. When it's time to cook the gnocchi, remove from the freezer and spread the gnocchi into a single layer on a plate.
Prepare them the same as in the recipe above.
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