Potato Gnocchi or Little Italian Potato Dumplings

Bob said,  "Knee aki?? what's that?" I told him, "It's what you're eating.  Think of them as little Italian potato dumplings."  "Okay."  He then made an off-the-wall comparison with Japanese mochi.  I was a bit miffed, or in Hawaii we'd say slightly hu hu over that, since mochi is not the consistency we're looking for in gnocchi.  And, they were absolutely not.  They were light and delicious.  Fluffy even, so there.  He now tells me that it was not a comment on the consistency.  Hummm.  Perhaps the steak was clouding his mind for anything other than MEAT.  Possibly.

Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!

I cut the following recipe, which we were given, down to 1 potato's worth, which made enough for us two, plus another meal.  We are light eaters however.  I watched this video, liked the chef's easy technique, and followed it with excellent results.  Other than the shapes that is.  Mine were not perfect.  But, hey it's the taste that counts, right?  Next time we'll work on that fork technique.

I pan-seared 2 little tenderloin steaks, set them aside and did a quick red wine reduction in the juices, added fresh chopped sage and butter, then added the gnocchi to re-heat in the sauce.  I had prepared them earlier and chilled in a bowl of ice water, after boiling, drained, then tossed in bit of oil in a bowl and stored in the fridge for later (as per Mario Batali's recipe).  This being summer, I wanted to keep the dinner prep fast and easy.  My kitchen gets so hot and steamy.  Which can make one crabby.

Potato Gnocchi

Servings: 4
 1½ pounds (700 grams) starchy potatoes (Russet or Idaho work well)
 Salt and Pepper
 ½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) (70 to 100 grams) (2½ to 3 ½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour,
plus more as needed
 1 large egg (optional) (I used a small one)

1.Heat the oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake potatoes until tender,
about an hour. You can also boil the potatoes with their skins on. When potatoes are
cooked split the potatoes open to allow steam to escape. When potatoes are cool enough to
handle, scoop out their flesh.

2.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (I steamed mine)

3.Pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. I used a medium setting on mine. If you
do not have a ricer or mill you can use a masher but try not to “work” the potatoes too
much as this will cause the gnocchi to be tougher. (Claudia's p.s. I used my grater- easy peasy)

4.On a well-floured board place the potatoes and form a well in the potatoes. Put ¼ cup
(60 ml) (35 gm) (1¼ oz) flour and the egg (if using) in the potatoes. Gently knead the
potato, adding the additional flour if needed, just until the dough comes together. (or, as in the video technique, in a bowl with 1/3 cup flour).

5.Pinch off a small piece of the dough and try cooking it in the boiling water to see if
it holds together. If it does not add a little more flour and try again.

6.Roll some of the dough into a ½ inch (5 mm) thick rope, then cut the rope into ½ inch (5
mm) pieces
7.Score each piece with a fork or gnocchi board. You can also just push your finger into
it to form a little bowl. This is not really that critical and done just to help the
gnocchi hold onto the sauce a little better. Put the pieces onto a parchment lined baking
sheet until ready to cook.
8.Add the gnocchi to the boiling water in small batches. After they rise to the surface
let them cook another 60 seconds and remove them with a slotted spoon.
9.Finish with any sauce you like.

These made a fantastic accompaniment for the steaks with a bit of tossed fresh salad on the side.  Oh, I am definitely going to make these delectable little dumplings again.  They were so easy.  And I do recommend two steps, with the gnocchi making earlier in the day.  I served the extra in a nice marinara sauce the following day.

As a personal challenge, the next batch of gnocchi was made with taro - you know that root vegetable, sometimes mashed into oblivion,  i.e. poi.  Served at traditional Hawaiian feasts and luau. 
I happen to like taro unmashed.  Just steamed or baked or boiled and served as one would potatoes.

The taro made the gnocchi dough slightly purple, but purple is good, right? 

I was doing a more local theme for Memorial Day, with Teriyaki beef and veggie kabobs, coleslaw on the side, so used some of that homemade Teriyaki sauce for the gnocchi as well.  Once coated with the sauce they just looked like "normal" gnocchi, and tasted quite yummy as well.  Oh boy, Taro Gnocchi - way better than poi.

And another great way of serving any extra, lightly sauté some cherry tomatoes, zucchini, basil and mushrooms in butter, then add the gnocchi and top with parmesan.  Oh,  my own delicious lunch.


Olga said...

I like your idea of taro gnocchi! I never cooked with taro but like store bought stuff with taro. I wish I could have a taste of your gnocchi too ;)

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day Definitely a different type of gnocchi true!
Looks yum and enjoy seeing lots of photos too!
Cheers! Joanne
Viewed as Part of The Daring Kitchen Cooks Challenge Sept 2013