Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce

Tonight we had some extra time to experiment in the kitchen, and after our walk through North Beach to visit Coit Tower, something Italian sounded good.

We decided on gnocchi in a creamy tomato basil sauce, in part because we had just enjoyed this dish at one of the North Beach restaurants a couple weeks back.

After looking at a few gnocchi recipes, we ended up combining a few and coming up with our own combination.  Our sauce is modeled after the Pioneer Woman's, which my good friend made for us a while back.  It was a huge hit then, so that selection was an easy one.

I wouldn't say gnocchi is particularly hard, but it is time-consuming.  It's also impressive!

Ingredients for Gnocchi:
3 russet potatoes
1 egg
salt, pepper
1.5 cups flour

Gnocchi Instructions:
Clean and peel the potatoes, dice in quarters, and boil until a fork pierces them easily.

Drain the water and mash the potatoes, adding the egg, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the mashed potatoes to a cutting board or the counter and slowly work in the flour as you mix it with the potatoes.  It will soon turn into a soft dough (softer than if you were making regular pasta.)  Do not over-knead.

Cut the dough into workable sizes and roll into a long log, less than an inch in diameter.  Cut the log into gnocchi-size pieces and sprinkle with a bit of flour to prevent sticking.  (Keep in mind the gnocchi will get larger during the boiling process, so you can make them a little smaller than your desired final size.)  Using the tines of the back of the fork, roll each piece to create the indentations that will later let them grab onto the sauce.*

To cook, add the gnocchi to boiling, salted water.  After about a minute, they should rise to the surface.  Once on the surface, set the timer for 4 minutes and remove them with a slotted spoon into the sauce you've prepared.

For the sauce, I recommend following this recipe.  We used a large shallot instead of the onion and half-and-half instead of cream, since it's what we had on hand.

After the gnocchi has fully cooked, transfer the pieces into the skillet with the sauce.  Spoon onto a plate, top with parmesan cheese, and serve.

This was SOOOO good!
*Before boiling the gnocchi, I transferred half of the pieces to a small cutting board and froze them.  I have read they will taste just as good defrosted later.  We also reserved half of the sauce and froze this as well.  So half of this recipe served 3 people.  We're excited to defrost the other half sometime soon for a quick and yummy meal!

Into the freezer until hard, then store in a plastic bag and freeze for another day.

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