I have been laughing out loud about that quote--"gnocchi you didn't"--since my friend said it to me the other day in response to me telling her I made this recipe. It's still funny to me, even many days later.
This recipe was so satisfying to make in a couple different ways. #1--It's unbelievably easy. Just when I thought this was for sure going to land in my 'only on the weekend' pile, because come on, it's pasta for heaven's sake and everyone knows its ludicrous to think you can make pasta on a week night. From scratch. Once you bake your potatoes this mixes together super quickly which brings me to #2. There are only 3 ingredients! (well 4 if you count salt, but 3 sounds more impressive.) Potato, flour, & egg which makes this cheap, cheap, cheap as far as meals go. #3--It's kinda zen-like. You roll out the dough into ropes and then cut them into cute little pillow-shaped pastas. All the sudden there is homemade gnocchi staring you in the face and you can hardly believe it. And, #4--These taste better than anything you'd get at a nice restaurant and you don't even have to put on a good bra and a nice dress which there is a time and a place for, don't get me wrong, but I'm just saying now you won't have to if you don't want to.
We had these with a little fresh pesto (recipe to follow) but pick your favorite sauce and have at it. And oh my gosh I almost forgot to tell you the best part about all of this. You don't have to put the potatoes through a ricer like ever other gnocchi recipe on the face of the earth tells you to do. Which yes, means you don't have to spend the rest of your Sur La Table Christmas gift card on that gigantic kitchen contraption. I did a quick search and found that Smitten Kitchen (all things lead back to her and I'm not complaining) found this recipe that uses a box grater. All the really average cooks in the world just said hallelujah.
2 pounds Russet potatoes (this was about 3 medium ones)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat your oven to 400°. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, or until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
- Peel the potatoes, and grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips.
- Dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. Knead for about three or four minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and then divide it into 6 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
- Drop the gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they float. Take them out right away and then add your favortie sauce.
Easy Pesto (this makes alot, so I cut this in 1/2 and it was plenty):
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.