Rosemary Gnocchi

Rosemary Gnocchi
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rosemary gnocchi in red sauce
Simple staples can produce a great meal!

Often, when we get back from a trip, there’s little food in the house. We like to eat up as much fresh food as we can before we go; that way, it won’t spoil, leaving us with those long-lasting staples, such as potatoes and carrots. With that in mind, you might imagine that the first couple of days back, our meals aren’t anything to write home about, much less write up for you, dear scratcher. We like to think that you’re wrong, as today’s post shows.

As soon as we can after returning home, we have to feed our bread starter, and, from the excess starter, we often make a single pizza crust (that’s what we had for our first dinner back), leaving us with tomato sauce. With the tomato sauce and a few potatoes in the cupboard, an egg, and bit of flour, we made these Rosemary Gnocchi for our second night. All from basic staples. Keep these in mind when it seems as if the cupboard is bare.

Rosemary Gnocchi

Yield: 5-6 dozen gnocchi

Rosemary Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • about 1 pound (2-3) russet potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large egg
  • About 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Scrub potatoes, removing bad spots, and pierce several times with a sharp knife.

Rub potatoes with olive oil, place on baking sheet, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Turn potatoes over and season the other side.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a sharp knife.

While the potatoes are baking, strip leaves from the rosemary sprig and chop finely. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Remove potatoes from oven and immediately slice in half. As soon as the potatoes can be handled, use a fork to scrape the flesh from the peels, and add to the rosemary. Toss to mix. Let cool completely.

Add egg, and, using the fork, mix gently. Sprinkle the potato mixture with about 1/4 cup of flour, gently mixing with the fork until incorporated. Repeat with another 1/4 cup flour so the mixture resembles a soft dough.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured work surface and gently knead for about 30 seconds.

Divide in half and roll into a long rope about the diameter of your finger. Cut the rope into 1/2-inch lengths and gently roll each piece over a ridged board or the back of a fork. Place formed gnocchi on lined baking sheet.

Freeze gnocchi for 30 minutes, then transfer to a freezer bag for longer storage.

To cook, bring a large kettle of salted water to a gentle boil. Add gnocchi, and stir gently. Continue stirring gently until the gnocchi float and the water begins to simmer. Simmer an additional minute before removing with a slotted spoon and serving with your favorite sauce.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2017/05/rosemary-gnocchi/

Ingredient discussion:

These are really nothing other than Potato Gnocchi with rosemary added. Feel free to use any type of potato, but russets work well because of all the starch, and, they tend to have a drier texture. Use good eggs, from free-ranging hens. They taste better, and the hens are better off, too, so everyone wins.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Clean and bake potatoes. Scrub the potatoes and cut out any bad spots that occur where the potatoes have been damaged by mechanical harvesting. Using a paring knife, pierce the potatoes in several places to let steam escape. If you don’t do this, your potatoes might explode while baking, and, trust us on this, once a potato explodes in your oven and you have to clean it up, you’ll never forget. Of course, if you’re using an oven that doesn’t belong to you, it might not matter. We like to season the potatoes before baking. If you don’t, then just go ahead and bake ’em up. But, if you like, rub the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, enough to make them shiny, place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. Turn over and season the other side in the same way. Bake until a sharp knife easily pierces the center of each potato, 45 to 60 minutes.

chopped rosemary
Chop the rosemary nice and fine; otherwise, it might jab you in the gums while you’re eating.

Chop rosemary. While the potatoes are baking, rather than twiddling your thumbs, strip off the rosemary leaves and chop them finely. We’d been grinding salt (to make popcorn salt) in our spice grinder, so we used that to chop the rosemary. Otherwise, we’d have simply chopped it all with a chef’s knife, or even our kitchen shears. Place the chopped rosemary in a medium bowl. While you’re at it, line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat; this will hold the gnocchi as you make them.

scraping potatoes
We simply use a fork to scrape out the potato for gnocchi.

Scrape potato. As soon as the potatoes are baked through, remove them from the oven and slice them in half to let steam escape and start the potatoes on their way to drying. Once you can handle the potatoes without getting burned, scrape the flesh away from the skins using a fork (if you have a ricer, you can use that, and make fun of us while we’re scraping away with a fork. Later, we’ll make fun of you cleaning the ricer, while we wash a fork). Place the potato flesh in the bowl with the rosemary and toss to mix. Use the potato skins for something else, perhaps filling them with cheese and heating until melted.

Cool. Let the potato cool completely. This will give the potato time to dry out a bit more for even fluffier gnocchi. It shouldn’t take but 15 minutes to cool, enough time to make a sandwich for lunch, if it’s that time of day.

adding egg
Some people don’t use egg in their gnocchi, but we do.

Add egg. Crack an egg into the potato mixture and use the fork to mix it in lightly. Don’t mash it in; instead, try to use an upward motion of the fork to lift the potato and fold it into the egg. If you mash, you’ll release starch from the potatoes, making them gummy. The lifting and folding prevents that.

adding flour
Work the flour in lightly, always trying to fluff up the potatoes mixture
gnocchi dough
Light kneading will mix everything together without developing the gluten in the flour, which would make the gnocchi rubbery.

Add flour. We can’t tell you exactly how much flour you’ll need, but it’ll be about 1/2 cup in total. You’ll see the mixture starting to behave like a dough, and that’ll be the signal that you’ve added enough. Start by sprinkling about 1/4 cup of flour over the mixture. Now, use the fork to fold and work that into the potatoes. Add a bit more flour, and work it in the same way. When it seems like a soft dough, you’ve added enough, and, as we say, about 1/2 cup total should be perfect. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and pliable. We did about 50 strokes and that seemed fine. Much more than that and you run the risk of developing the gluten and making gnocchi that are rubbery instead of light, puffy pillows of deliciousness.

rolling gnochii dough
Nope! Not six fingers, but rolled-out gnocchi dough.
cutting gnocchi
Cut the dough rope into 1/2-inch long pieces.
rolling gnocchi
If you have a ridged board, you can use that to help shape the gnocchi. If not, leave off the ridges.

Shape. Divide the dough in half, and, working with half at a time, roll it out into a long rope about the diameter of your finger. Use a bench knife (or regular knife) to cut the rope into 1/- inch long pieces. If you want to be fancy, and more traditional, you can roll each piece of dough over a ridged board (a gnocchi board) or the tines of a fork; otherwise, simply give them a light squeeze to narrow the middle so they resemble small bones. Place the completed gnocchi on the lined baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch.

freezing gnocchi
We like to freeze our gnocchi for ease of handling.

Freeze. If you wish, these gnocchi can be cooked immediately, but we like to freeze them first for two reasons. One, it makes them easier to handle, and two, we don’t eat all the gnocchi we make in one meal. Having frozen gnocchi on hand for a quick meal is a great time saver. To freeze, place the baking sheet full of gnocchi in a freezer for about 30 minutes, or until solid, and transfer to a freezer bag for longer term storage.

simmering gnocchi
Once the gnocchi float to the surface, simmer for about another minute.

Simmer. To cook these gnocchi (do not thaw), simply bring a large kettle of salted water to a low boil. Add the frozen gnocchi and stir gently. As the water comes back to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer — a full boil will break apart the gnocchi — the gnocchi will float. Once they do, simmer for an additional minute before removing with a slotted spoon.

Serve. Place the drained gnocchi in a warmed bowl and serve with your favorite sauce. Or, add the drained gnocchi to a skillet of sauce that’s already simmering, and serve from there.

These are perfect, light and fluffy, provided you use a light hand when making them, and full of rosemary flavor. We had ours with a red sauce, but would probably suggest something lighter in flavor, such as a light cream sauce, or even a browned-butter sauce. However you serve them, it’ll be a five-star Italian dinner. Prego.

 

 

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