I always thought Gnocchi was a very difficult dish to make. Maybe because I'm not Italian. I'm sure a 30's something very pretty Italian lady might find making Paruppu Urundai Sambar or Malai Kofta also quite intimidating. But, there's nothing in cooking that cannot be conquered.
Ok, now that I have got across the point that I'm very pretty, let's get to making Gnocchi. LOL!
I added a little bit of Spinach to the traditional Gnocchi recipe. I was tempted to try the Ricotta Spinach Gnocchi but wasn't feeling very thin that day - so stuck to just the potato Gnocchi.
Once I made this and ate it, I realized what a simple and easy recipe this is. I also realized that I should have gotten to making this earlier than waiting until now - oh many many years have been wasted....
So, don't wait like me. Don't be afraid. Just do it. You'll love it.
Boil or bake a few potatoes until well done. I pressure cooked them. Also, a hint here, don't use very fresh potatoes - use the oldest potatoes you have at home. Fresh potatoes have a lot of moisture, which means you'll need more flour to make the gnocchi and that will make it heavy. And we did not sign up for heavy cakey Gnocchi.
Next, wash the spinach leaves well. You can use about 1-2 cup of fresh spinach leaves. Heat a pan and when hot, just add in the washed spinach leaves. Cover and cook for a few mins. The water sticking to the leaves is enough to cook the leaves. When they completely cook and wilt, switch off the stove. When the spinach has cooled down a little bit, squeeze out all the water from the leaves and then chop it into really small pieces.
Once the potatoes have cooked, peel it and mash with a fork or a masher. Do not use a food processor as that will lead to a gooey mashed potato paste and we don't want that.
If your potatoes have cooked well, just a gentle push with the back of the fork would give you fluffy mashed potato which works perfect for Gnocchis.
Once you are done mashing all the potatoes, add in the chopped spinach to the potatoes. Then, add salt and some black pepper to taste. Go lite on the salt though. You will be adding sauce on top of this which also has salt. So, just go easy here.
Now, sprinkle about 2 tbsps of all purpose flour around the potatoes and start mixing the both together to make the dough. Don't punch and pull. Be gentle, really gentle, Mix with fingertips too if you can. Just kind of fold the potatoes in with the flour. The final dough should not be too sticky and yet not too hard with the flour. While making the dough, add some more flour if you need to. Just keep sprinkling a little at a time until you get the correct consistency.
Now, take a big ball size out of the dough. Cover the remaining so it remains moist. You can even refrigerate the covered dough while working with one set.
Roll the big ball into an elongated thin strip. Dust the board with a little flour while you do this so that you don't have a sticky mess. Now, cut the long strip into small 1 inch bits.
And then each bit will be made into a Gnocchi. You can pick your shape. The one on the left is just a ball with a thumb impression in it. The second one if a half fork pressed. The third is a full fork pressed.
You pick your shape or make something else totally different that you like.
I was just lazy and went with the first one. Little finger presses on the Gnocchis.
Here comes the fun part . Or what I thought to be fun!
Boil a big pot of water. Add a little salt in the water. When the water is really boiling, bring the heat down to medium. No more big bubbles in the water.
Now, add the Gnocchi and keep watching the pot. In about 55 secs, you'll see the first of the set floating up slowly..yeah that fast. And as soon as they hit the top, scoop it out of the water and set it on a colander to drain the water.
How do I know this? Because I learned it on the job. The first batch I put in, the water was boiling and once I put the Gnocchi in, I turned around the other side to make the next batch of Gnocchis. Once I saw that mess that was in my water after some time, I was dejected, sad, wanted to cry. But with courage, I referred back to my Pasta making book to see what I was doing wrong and then I read the words.."As soon as they come up..". Aha. As soon as.
So, I tried it again and wow..what a difference. The gnocchis remain soft and light when you remove them from the water as soon as they float up. So, just wait there watching it. And act swiftly.
Perfect! Once the water drains out, move them to a flat plate where they are spread out and not on top of each other.
See the over cooked gooey mass on the right. That's what happens when you leave Gnocchi in boiling water until eternity. I think I'll save these so I can use them as stamp gum for my Christmas cards!
There are all my cooked Gnocchi.
A close up..just for you.
I had big plans of making a zucchini cream sauce to go with the Gnocchi. And then when I was all ready to start, I realized there were no zucchinis in my fridge. That was last week. Duh. This is why they say. think before you leap..or something like that. I suck with proverbs. Never use the correct one at the correct time!
So, I just used the bounty of creativity in my head and made my all time fav mix sauce - a mix of red marinara and white alfredo sauce. Really, you don't even have to be creative for this. Why don't they just sell this stuff in bottles?
Is that not gorgeous by itself. I love breadsticks just dipped half way into this!
Heat up the Gnocchi a little in the microwave and add warm sauce on top.
And of course, add Broccoli. No pasta is ever complete without broccoli. At least for me.
Isn't making Gnocchi at home so easy? Are you going to try soon?
Now, only if those Italian women learned to make our koftas!
Enjoy. Peace out!!