Comfort food. This term has a different definition in every region of the world. It’s food that speaks directly to our soul, and brings a genuine sense of happiness. In the south we have several different kinds of comfort food, but in my household Italian cuisine is a go-to. One of the things that I love the most about Italian food, especially making it from scratch, is that I am often astounded at how few ingredients I need to put an actual meal together. Gnocchi is a perfect example of that. That is one of the many reasons that these little cloud-like dumplings are my ideal Italian comfort food.
Potato Gnocchi – A Step by Step Guide
4 Large Russet Potatoes
2 ½ Cups Flour
Peel the potatoes. In a large pot, cook the potatoes until tender. (If you are unsure how to tell if a potato is cooked or not, simply stick a fork into the middle of the potato. If it is easily inserted and comes out, the potatoes are ready. Drain them in a colander in the sink and let cool for a few minutes.
Now, this next step. Traditional Gnocchi recipes call for the use of a “potato ricer.” However, I used my handy-dandy salad shooter which made the overall process significantly easier. (Why work on manually ricing the potatoes if I have an electric shredder that will do it for me?)
Once the potatoes are riced/ shredded, add the flour and the eggs. Mix this dough together.
Note: the key to tender gnocchi, as with most doughs, is that it not be overworked. Only mix the dough until it just comes together.
Once the dough is mixed, take a handful of the dough and roll out into a cylinder about 2 – 2 ½ inches thick.
Then take a scraper and cut into smaller “cubes.” Each about 1 – 1 ½ square inches.
Roll the edges of the cut pieces to make to smooth out. Repeat this until all the dough is used.
In a pot of boiling water, add the gnocchi in batches. Each batch should cook only for about 3-4 minutes. When the gnocchi rise to the top of the water, they are ready to come out.
Remove them with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately.
This recipe is traditionally served either with a red sauce or a pesto. I opted for red sauce and served with parmigiana reggiano.
Marcella Hazan’s Simple Red Sauce
3 12 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
½ stick butter.
This really couldn’t be easier. Throw all of the ingredients into a pot. Cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. The tomatoes should cook down and the onions should be translucent. If you like a thicker sauce, serve this as is. If you like a little more consistency in texture, use an immersion blender to get any big chunks broken up.
**These recipes were adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking