Thursday, September 4, 2014

Easy Homemade Gnocchi

Miniature Italian potato dumplings

Gnocchi are pronounced NYOH-kee, and are served like pasta.  Their plump, pillowy texture and mild, delicate flavor make them perfect for rich, hearty sauces. In Italy, they're seen as an alternative to serving pasta. 

They're great with sauce, mixed with vegetables in browned garlic butter, or with pesto.  I've even seen them used in soups or in a Caprese Salad, with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and Balsamic dressing.  I have got to try that one!

There are so many ways to enjoy gnocchi,  I just love them!

My mom made most of her pasta by hand, and this was one of our favorites.  Although, I do remember how great her homemade Ravioli were too!   Ha!  Let me tell you a story about that!  I was pregnant with our first child, helping Mom make her incredibly delicious ravioli, when she dropped one on the floor.  I literally cried as I watched her pick it up, and throw it away!!!   Uh, okay, I'm going to blame that one on my hormones...and I'm sticking to that excuse, thank you! 


Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. prepared instant mashed potatoes, cooled (leftovers are great)
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2-2 c. all-purpose flour

In a stockpot (8 qt.) bring water to a boil.

Combine mashed potatoes, egg and salt; mix well. 

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix until dough begins to form into a ball.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly until smooth.  Sprinkle additional flour over surface, a little at a time, as needed to form a dough that is not sticky or dry.  Firm, yet a little soft.

Divide dough into six equal portions; roll each portion into a 1/2 inch thick log across.

Cut each log into 3/4 inch pieces, forming pillow-shaped gnocchi.  Roll firmly, yet lightly down a butter board (with ridges) or a fork to make indent in the gnocchi. (At this point you can freeze them on a floured cookie sheet, then store them in a plastic freezer bag.)

Carefully drop gnocchi into salted boiling water.  Once gnocchi rise to the surface, cook 2 minutes (about 4 minutes total).  Drain in a large colander.  If you double this batch, be sure to boil them in stages, or they'll just stick together because there are too many in the pot.

Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Yields: approx 4 servings


"Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future."  -Corrie Ten Boom

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