Thursday, August 19, 2010
Gnocchi and Creamy Marinara
I've never made gnocchi. I have only eaten it a couple of times, so I don't even know the difference between good and bad gnocchi. But it was raining today (so I didn't want to go out to the store) and we had a lot of potatoes, so I decided to give gnocchi a go. I followed the instructions from Italyum. It worked really well, but made a lot so we froze the leftover gnocchi. (Uncooked, placed them individually on a cookie sheet and then put them in the freezer. Once frozen we put them in a plastic bag.) It was kind of labor intensive, but fun. I think it took about an hour and a half from start to finish.
6 medium size potatoes
3 fresh tomatoes
1 can plum tomatoes
1 medium sized zucchini, cut into small pieces
1/2 green pepper (washed and seeds removed)
2 small chilies
sea salt to taste
5 clove garlic
1/2 cup single cream (half and half)
Basil to taste (I used dried)
Wash the potatoes and put them (whole) in a large pot, covered with water. Bring to boil. While the potatoes are boiling, place all the marinara ingredients except the cream in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer (I simmered the sauce about 80 minutes until the gnocchi was ready to eat.)
When the potatoes are soft and the skin comes off easily (I boiled the potatoes for about 35 minutes), remove from the heat and rinse with cold water until they can be handled. Remove the skin from each potato.
Mash the potatoes. (I washed the pot I boiled them in and used that.)
Get a large piece of parchment paper, if you're like me and don't like wiping a lot of flour off the counter. If you don't mind the mess then skip this step.
Put about 2 cups of flour on the parchment paper (or directly on the counter) and put the mashed potatoes on top. In a small container, crack the egg and whisk it.
This is where it gets messy. Add half the beaten egg to the potatoes and start kneading the flour into the potatoes. Keep kneading the dough and adding more flour (I found this super messy and had Niall add the flour) until the dough is smooth, not sticky. It took me about ten minutes to get to this point. (I hope I didn't overwork the dough.) You can use the egg for something else (like a quarter batch of chocolate chip cookies.)
Wash your hands and get a big pot of water on the stove, with plenty of salt, and bring it to a rolling boil while you roll and cut the gnocchi.
Flour a knife (dip it in flour so it doesn't stick to the dough) and cut the dough into five or six segments.
On a floured surface, take a segment and roll into into a ball. Then continue rolling the dough until it makes a long "snake"...for lack of a better word! Per the instructions, I rolled until the dough it was about as thick as my thumb. Then with a floured knife cut the dough into one-inch pieces.
If you're like me and have no pasta making equipment, you can roll the dough with a fork to get ridges.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling pot of water. Once the gnocchi float to the top take them out of the water with a slotted spoon.
Place the gnocchi on a flat surface so they don't stick together. (On the first attempt I put a bunch of gnocchi into a bowl and they stuck together. There's probably some neat trick to get around this problem but I'm a novice.)
Stir the cream into the marinara sauce, then pour the sauce over the gnocchi. Serve hot and enjoy!