Friday, September 23, 2011


Last week, I made fresh gnocchi from a Cook's Illustrated recipe. I have posted the recipe here with photographs.
(Recipe by Dan Souza, Cook's Illustrated)
I improvised  the pasta sauce using heirloom tomatoes and garlic. Recipe below.

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs (4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
1tsp plus 1 tbs salt

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Poke each potato eight times with paring knife over entire surface. Microwave potatoes until slightly softened at ends, about 10 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through cooking. Transfer potatoes directly to oven rack and bake until skewer glides easily through flesh and potatoes yield to gentle pressure, 18 to 20 minutes.
(Note: Now would be a good time to start preparing the sauce)
2. Holding each potato with potholder or kitchen towel, peel with paring knife. Process potatoes through ricer of food mill onto rimmed baking sheet. Gently spread potatoes into even layer and let cool for 5 minutes.

3. Transfer 3 cups (16 ounces) warm potatoes to bowl. Using fork, gently stir in egg until just combined. Sprinkle flour and 1 tsp salt over potato mixture.

Using fork, gently combine until no pockets of dry flour remain. Press mixture into rough ball, transfer to lightly floured counter, and gently knead until smooth but slightly sticky, about 1 minute, lightly dusting counter with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and dust liberally with flour. Cut dough into 8 pieces.

Lightly dust counter with flour. Gently roll piece of dough into 1/2 inch thick rope, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Cut rope into 3/4 inch lengths.
Holding fork with tines facing down in 1 hand, press each dough piece cut side down against tines with thumb of other hand to create indentation. Roll dough down tines to form ridges on sides. If dough sticks, dust thumb or fork with flour. Transfer formed gnocchi to sheets and repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add remaining 1 tbs salt. Using parchment paper as sling, gently lower gnocchi from one sheet into water and cook until firm and just cooked through, about 90 seconds (gnocchi should float to surface after about 1 minute). Using slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to bowl with sauce. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Gently toss gnocchi with sauce and serve.

To make this sauce, I simply chopped the tomatoes and placed them in a shallow baking dish with slices of garlic. Then I drizzled olive oil over the dish. I let the tomatoes bake until soft, then blended them in the blender while hot. I recommend straining the sauce afterwards if possible to remove the tomato skins. Season with salt and pepper.

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