Basil Gnocchi

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Basil gnocchi in tomatoe sauce
Gnocchi isn’t too difficult, it just takes practice.

As you might expect from yesterday’s post, we had a lot of leftover pizza sauce. But, the way we make it, it can be used as a starter for almost any tomato-based dish. For instance, Basil Gnocchi with tomato-basil sauce. Gnocchi has a reputation for being tricky, but, as we’ve shown in our basic Gnocchi recipe, it is undeserved. The trick is always to work with a fluffing motion on the dough, not mixing, nor mashing, and you’ll end up with light gnocchi.

We thought about making just plain Gnocchi; they are really good, especially with a light tomato sauce. Then we thought, it’s no more trouble to add a bit of basil for color and flavor, and it’ll move the dish up a notch from the ordinary. So, why not? Isn’t that why you make food from scratch?

Makes about 50 Gnocchi

Basil Gnocchi

Basil Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, baked and cooled
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, approximately

Abbreviated Instructions

After your potatoes have cooled to room temperature, remove all the skins and any discolored spots.

Shred or grate, but do not mash, potatoes.

Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of flour over the potato shreds, add the basil and salt, and fluff the potatoes with a fork to coat.

Crack the egg into the potatoes, break the yolk, and again fluff the potatoes to coat.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour over the surface of the potatoes and fluff the potatoes to coat.

Sprinkle the remaining flour over the dough, fluff until mostly mixed.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter, lightly knead the dough a couple of times, then roll out into a long skinny rope.

Using a sharp knife, cut the gnocchi about an inch long, squeeze each one lightly in the middle, and place on a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the gnocchi freeze solid.

Bring several quarts of water to a boil, and scoop the gnocchi in, about 20 at a time. They will sink, but once they float back to the surface, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with your favorite sauce.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2013/06/basil-gnocchi/

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, baked and cooled
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, approximately

Ingredient discussion:

We planned ahead a bit here; we knew we were baking something else, so we scrubbed up a few potatoes and tossed them into the oven. We try to use naturally grown or organic potatoes, but, honestly, this time we didn’t. For gnocchi, that’s actually not too bad, as we will remove and discard the skins. Eggs were from free- ranging, foraging hens; it makes a difference.

Procedure:

Peel potatoes. After your potatoes have cooled to room temperature, remove all the skins and any discolored spots.

Shred potatoes. Using an implement of your choice, shred the potatoes. You could use a grater as we did (it’s pretty easy), or you could drag a fork along the potatoes to form shreds (that’s easy, too). We’ve also heard a ricer works well. Just don’t mash them.

making gnocchi
Sprinkle with a bit of flour, the salt, and basil, then fluff to combine.

Dust with flour, basil, and salt. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of flour over the potato shreds, add the basil and salt, and fluff the potatoes with a fork to coat.

adding egg
Once coated, add the egg, then fluff, fluff, fluff. Never mash, stir, or spindle.

Add egg. Crack the egg into the potatoes, break the yolk, and again fluff the potatoes to coat.

gnocchi dough
The potato mixture starts to form a dough.

Add 1/4 cup flour. Sprinkle flour over the surface of the potatoes, and, yep, you guessed it, fluff the potatoes to coat. It gets a bit harder as the dough forms, but really, keep scooping the fork under the dough and lifting and breaking the dough apart.

gnocchi dough
Sprinkle with about half the flour, then fluff it in.

Add remaining flour. Again, sprinkle the flour over the dough, fluff until mostly mixed.

rolled our gnocchi dough
We roll our dough out to about the size of a finger. Appropriate, since gnocchi means knuckle.

Roll out. Turn the dough unto a well floured counter, lightly knead the dough a couple of times, then start rolling out into a long skinny rope. Work gently, gently.

 

rows of gnocchi
Place gnocchi on a baking sheet, and freeze to make them easy to handle.

Cut. Using a sharp knife, cut the gnocchi about an inch long, squeeze each one lightly in the middle, and place on a baking sheet.

Freeze. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the gnocchi freeze solid. They are easier to work with frozen. If you plan to have gnocchi another day, place them in a freezer bag once solid. Otherwise, just use them frozen directly off the sheet.

Boil. Bring several quarts of water to a boil, and scoop the gnocchi in, about 20 at a time. They will sink, but once they float back to the surface, they’re done. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with your favorite sauce.

Gnocchi and sauce is one of our favorite dishes. When done correctly, they are light little pillows that are so tender that they just sort of melt in your mouth. We will have to say that they take a certain technique to get just right, a technique on which we’ll always be working. But, even when they turn out a bit rubbery and dense, they still taste good, so it’s not too bad eating the failures, and it gives us a reason to try again. Fives!

Worth the trouble?

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