I have never had gnocchi until I made this, but after seeing it on a Food Network show (I think it might have been Emeril), I knew I wanted to make it. I somehow just knew that I would love it. The only thing that stopped me was that I did not have a potato ricer. Finally, a few weeks ago, I picked one up at Williams Sonoma and knew that I could be on my way to making gnocchi soon.
I decided to try the version from Cook’s Illustrated because it seemed so straightforward. There were a few recommended sauces: a tomato-mint sauce, pesto, and a butter-sage sauce. I used the butter-sage sauce as inspiration and made it with oregano instead. Gnocchi is surprisingly easy to make. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect in terms of taste, but I was really to find out how delicious it was. David described it as being like potato dumplings. I was really glad he loved it too, because I hate when I love something and he doesn’t because I know that means it will be a long time before I make it again! I really liked the sauce I chose to use with this. It was great with Parmesan cheese on top. I can’t wait to try different sauces when I make this again- and I will most definitely be making this again and again!
Potato Gnocchi (Source: Cook’s Illustrated March 1995)
2 pounds russet potatoes (or other baking potato), washed
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon table salt, plus more for cooking liquid
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes until a metal skewer slides easily through them, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size.
2. Hold potato with a pot holder or kitchen towel and peel it with a vegetable peeler or paring knife (see illustration 1); rice peeled potato into a large bowl. Peel and rice remaining potatoes. Cool until potatoes are no longer hot, about 15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle 1 1/4 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt over warm potatoes. Using your hands, work mixture into a soft, smooth dough. If dough is sticky (which is often the case), add more flour as needed, up to 1 1/2 cups total.
4. Roll about one-quarter of dough into a long 3/4-inch-thick rope (illustration 2). If rope won’t hold together (illustration 3), return it to bowl with remaining dough and work in more flour as needed. Repeat until all dough is rolled.
5. Cut rope of dough into 3/4-inch lengths (illustration 4). Holding butter paddle or fork in one hand, press each piece of cut dough against ridged surface with index finger to make an indentation in center. Roll dough down and off ridges and allow it to drop to work surface (illustrations 5, 6, and 7). (Gnocchi can be placed in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerated for several hours. Or, baking sheet can be placed in freezer for about 1 hour. Partially frozen gnocchi can be transferred to plastic bag or container, sealed, and frozen for up to 1 month.)
6. Bring 4 quarts of water to low boil in large pot. Add 2 teaspoons salt or to taste. Add about one-third of the gnocchi and cook until they float, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (about 3 minutes for frozen gnocchi). Retrieve gnocchi with slotted spoon and transfer to warm, shallow serving bowl or platter. Repeat cooking process with remaining gnocchi; see related recipes for topping suggestions.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 whole fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips, (other fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, chives, or marjoram can be substituted)- I used oregano
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing
7. For Sauce: Melt butter in small skillet. When butter foams, add sage. Remove pan from heat and set aside until needed.