I thought this was a fitting post to announce that my dear husband and I are going to Italy next month! This trip started as a dream that we almost laughed off as impossible, but after looking at our vacation fund and rearranging our schedules, the dream became an unexpected reality! We’ll possibly be in Rome when the new Pope is chosen, take a side trip to Pisa, Florence, and Siena, plus we’ll be there for Holy Week and Easter! Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you.
Besides the awesome religious aspect of our trip, I’m beyond excited for all the great food we’ll get to eat. Although, I gave up coffee and Jason gave up alcohol for Lent. Go figure! We’ve been joking about how on Easter, I’ll be buzzed from espresso and he’ll be buzzed from Italian wine.
Besides pasta and pizza, one of my favorite Italian foods is gnocchi. I’ve always bought it pre-made at the grocery store, but have had it on my try-to-make-at-home list for a long time. Feeling all giddy and inspired by our upcoming trip motivated me to finally give it a try!
If you’ve never had gnocchi, I encourage you to give it a try! (the store bought variety is so easy to make – you just boil it like pasta) Gnocchi is typically a potato based dumpling that’s light, fluffy, and delicious. With only three main ingredients – potato, egg, and flour – it’s a pretty basic dish to make. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some prep work involved in making the dough, but once you get the gnocchi shaped, the cooking process goes pretty quickly.
This Italian favorite can be paired with pesto, marinara, cream sauce, or just some simple butter and herbs. I usually add some Italian sausage, then have some salad or a vegetable on the side to make a delicious hearty meal. Enjoy!
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
2 large russet potatoes, halved
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pesto sauce (or your sauce of choice)
Yield: 4-6 servings
Place the halved potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water. Boil for about 40 minutes or until soft. Remove potatoes one by one with a slotted spoon and quickly peel them. Mash the potatoes with a with a fork or a ricer and ensure there are no lumps. Don’t over mash – they should be light and fluffy. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.
Shape potatoes into a mound with a well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well and sprinkle on 3/4 of the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal cutter, mix the flour, potato, and egg by gently chopping and scraping the ingredients together. Chop, scrape, chop, scrape until the ingredients are roughly combined. The dough should be moist but not sticky. If they are too sticky then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 of flour.
Lightly flour your work surface and then gently roll the dough several times with a very light touch. You don’t want to over mix the dough. It should feel light and airy. Place the dough on a clean surface and cut about 8 logs.
On a floured surface, gently roll each log so that it’s about 2/3 inch thick. Using the cutter, cut off 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Mark the gnocchi with a fork by lightly but quickly rolling them down the inside of the fork’s prongs. This reduces the bulk of the gnocchi and makes little grooves to catch the sauce.
Bring some salted water to the boil. Have a non-stick pan ready, on medium heat, with 1 tsp of butter next to the boiling water. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top and then sauté them in the butter for about 1 minute or until they brown slightly.
Place the browned gnocchi into the waiting bowl of pesto and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Source: Slightly adapted from All Things Nice