Homemade Gnocchi

October 14, 2016

I’m going to be honest, I am not the best cook. I love to do it because I love food and eating, but I just am not very confident with my cooking skills. When it comes to baking though, I’m a champ. Anyways, when my cute mom asked if I wanted to take a cooking class at Sur La Table, I immediately said yes especially since it was a class in the art of making homemade gnocchi (my all-time favorite pasta dish). The class was so much fun, so informative, and really made me feel more confident in my cooking skills. The chef taught us all of these knife tricks that made me feel like a pro! He also opened my eyes to a whole new world of gnocchi making. Did you know there are so many different types of gnocchi? I had no clue. We made a two new types that I had never heard of and one of them is my absolute favorite now and the sauce we made for it is literally to die for. Sharing the recipes for all three recipes to make the perfect pillow gnocchi below!

 

 

Traditional Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

 

Potato gnocchi:

2 pounds of russet potatoes

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1/2 cup cake flour, plus more as needed

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for simmering

 

Brown butter sauce:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons thinly sliced sage leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 F

 

To make the gnocchi: Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Place the potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

 

Using a kitchen towel and paring knife, carefully peel the potatoes and immediately process potatoes with a potato ricer or food mill and evenly spread out on a clean flat surface or baking sheet.

 

 

Using a fine-mesh strainer, dust the potatoes evenly with flours. Drizzle egg and salt over and knead until you have smooth, cohesive dough, about 2 minutes. If the dough feels sticky, incorporate up to 1/4 cup more cake flour. Set gnocchi aside, covered with a kitchen towel, to rest for twenty minutes.

 

Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into quarters with a bench scraper. Roll each portion into a long rope, about 3/4 inch diameter.

 

Using the bench scraper or a knife, cut the rope into 3/4 inch long pieces. Set the cut gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel as you form the rest.

 

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and season generously with salt.

To prepare brown butter sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids turn golden brown and the butter takes on a nutty aroma. Stir in sherry vinegar and sage. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, add gnocchi in batches to the simmering water and cook until they float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked dumplings to the skillet with the sauce, gently stirring to coat with the butter and sage. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Transfer dumplings to warmed shallow pasta bowls or large rimmed serving platter; garnish generously with grated parmesan and serve immediately.

Let me just tell you, this was sooo yummy. Especially the sauce. A must try!

Gnocchi Gnudi with Hazelnut Pesto and Goat Cheese (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE OF THE DAY!)

Gnudi (pronounced nudie, how scandalous!) is a type of gnocchi made with ricotta cheese instead of potato.

 

Gnudi:

1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for simmering

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

 

Hazelnut Pesto:

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, skinned

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 medium clove garlic

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

To prepare gnudi: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and seasonings; stir until well combined. Sift the flour over the mixture and using a spatula, fold until a soft dough forms. 

 

Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into fourths with a bench scraper. Roll each portion into a long rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. Using the bench scraper, cut the ropes into 1 inch long pieces and transfer gnudi to a lightly floured baking sheet.

 

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and season generously with salt.

 

To make pesto: Add the hazelnuts, parmesan, and garlic to a food processor or blender. Process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and parsley and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in the lemon juice and taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

 

To cook gnudi: Working in batches, add gnudi to the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, drain gnocchi and transfer to the bowl with hazelnut pesto and toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

I didn’t put goat cheese on mine because personally, I hate goat cheese, so I sprinkled on some parmesan and let me tell you this was THE BEST THING I HAVE EVERY EATEN. Literally heaven in my mouth. You HAVE to try in immediately. I promise you will love it.

For both of the above dishes, we used this little wooden board to create the ridges on the gnocchi. This allows for the sauce to cling to the pasta instead of sliding back off. It’s awesome! For grating the parmesan, we used this handy grater that makes the cheese so light and fluffy. Seriously, I tossed my old grater out and will only be using this from now on.

Things got a little interesting and creative with the third type of gnocchi. I had never heard of Semolina Gnocchi before so I was super excited to try this type out.

 

Semolina Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Olives

 

Known as “Roman” gnocchi, this version is made from coarsely ground semolina flour, milk and eggs. The gnocchu are formed by preparing a polenta-like paste which is cooled and then cut into quares and baked in a hot oven. The result is a crispy exterior with a soft creamy center.

 

For the gnocchi:

4 cups whole milk

1 cup semolina flour

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

For the sauce:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot

1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped and pitted Kalamata olives

10 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F

 

Add the milk to a medium saucepan, place on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Slowly add the semolina flour in a thin stream, whisking constantly. When combined, use a wooden spoon to constantly stir until the mixture is very thick.

Reduce the heat to low and beat in the egg, continuing to cook until combined, about two minutes.

 

Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, butter, cheese, and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Pour mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic to prevent a skin forming on the surface and refrigerate until cool and firm to the touch, about 1 hour.

Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Cut the chilled semolina gnocchi into twelve 3-inch squares. Carefully arrange the squares onto the prepared baking sheet and transfer to the oven; bake the gnocchi until the bottoms become golden brown, about 15 minutes.

To prepare the sauce: Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add garlic and shallot; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, add the olives and taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in basil ribbons.

To serve: Ladle the tomato sauce onto the plate, place semolina squares on the top of the sauce; sprinkle with grated parmesan and basil ribbons. And enjoy!

The Semolina Gnocchi was so yummy and unique. While we were making this dish, I couldn’t believe that these little squares were actually a form on gnocchi. Definitely a must if you want to try something unique in the kitchen!

Taking a cooking class was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a while! If you have a Sur La Table near you, be sure to sign up for a cooking class! You can find a class here. They also offer online courses as well, so you can cook in the comfort of your own kitchen.

 

 

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