Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. It was a happy one here- we had family visiting for the weekend and a houseful of loud kids, but that's what makes my world a happy place!
Not too much time for blogging tonight- I have a presentation to get ready for a client and nowhere near ready!
Tonight, for Meatless Monday, I made traditional potato gnocchi- a favorite of my Mom's and Allies. My Nonna was famouss for her light, delicious gnocchi and I'm quite proud to be able to replicate hers pretty closely :)
According to the emails I've been getting, it seems many of you find these little potato based pasta dumplings to be very intimidating. In reality, they're actually easier to make than home- made pasta. All it takes is a little practice, a ricer and the right potatoes. When my Nonna made gnocchi in Italy, she always boiled the potatoes. In Italy, gnocchi were usually made with old potatoes which were drier and made lighter gnocchi. I find I get much better results here by baking Russet potatoes- they're not too mushy, gummy, or mealy.
Allie prefers hers with a light tomato sauce. I made mine tonight with a brown butter sage sauce-YUM!
My Nonna always made hers by rolling the dough off the tines of a fork. As a child that was my job and I spent many happy afternoons at her kitchen table making tray after tray of gnocchi and watching her skim them out of the pot as they floated. Many years ago when I was a new bride, a friend's mother brought me a gnocchi board from Italy and I used it till we moved to NC and it mysteriously disappeared. I went back to a fork till I walked into Kitchenworks one day and there it was- my board!
I'm a happy camper again
Nonna Norma's Gnocchi
Russet potatoes- I used 10 medium sized ones today
2 egg yolks- this is optional. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. There are those that feel eggless gnocchi are lighter, but I'm not sure I necessarily agree. Mine are pretty light. I think the amount of flour has more importance
About 2 tablespoons of salt (I tried to measure today- I usually eyeball it)
about 3 cups of flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pierce potatoes and bake for about 1 hour till tender. Remove from oven and cool for 5 or 10 minutes. Carefully (I use a pot holder) peel and using a ricer (this is crucial in my opinion- it's what my Nonna used) press the potatoes into a large bowl. Stir in the salt, beaten egg yolks (if you're using them) and 2 cups of the flour. Stir in the rest of the flour and knead everything together for a minute. Do not overwork and the amount of flour may vary depending on the humidity and moisture in the potatoes. The dough should be just a little bit sticky.
Lightly flour a couple of tea towels on the counter. Break off a piece of dough about the size of a small grapefruit and roll it out into a long "snake" on the counter. With a sharp knife cut into inch long pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece off the tines of a fork or gnocchi board pushing it forward with your thumb- the traditional ridges and "curl" or shell shape that is formed are what captures the sauce. Lay the gnocchi on the towel as you form them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the gnocchi in batches. In a minute or two they will float to the surface. Using a large skimmer remove them to a warmed serving platter, add your sauce, and enjoy!
If you'd like to get some bonus recipes, be sure to become a fan of Bramasole on Facebook. Tonight we're posting a lovely poppy seed tea bread that has already almost disappeared since being made this morning!
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie