There are foods that bring you comfort and there are foods that are comfort. Gnocchi is comfort for me. It is such a wonderful, filling meal. The dumplings have nutrients you can expect when making things from scratch, such as Vitamin A, B 1-6, Iron, Potassium and phosphorous. All of which help maintain healthy bodily functions and provide substantial amounts of energy. Did I mention they taste delicious and leave you feeling warm on the inside?
I remember my first bowl of gnocchi – New Years Eve, 2012. I had no idea how it would inspire me to make my own pasta, I also had no idea that those sweet little potato dumplings would be one of my most favourite meals to make from than on. The first time I recreated a recipe, I fed it to my family with just butter, sage and parmesan. I tried a few times after, and could never find a recipe quite like the one I had in 2012, and the store bought just wasn’t right either. I started to question why or how they had done it so differently.
The key to the pillow like pasta is to bake your potatoes and use a ricer to shred your cooked potato while its hot, and make the dough while the potato is warm. The more immediate you use it, the better. The less you handle the dough, the less gluten forms, making your gnocchi light and fluffy. Following these important steps will make your gnocchi no less than perfect. However, if you’re crunched for time, boil your potatoes, or mash them. If you’re looking to get rid of mashed potatoes, use them here. Convenience is sometimes more important than culinary expertise.
Gnocchi is a practical meal, it is not a hard recipe to follow, and it comes out quite delicious. For those of you who have the time, gnocchi is a wonderful excuse to make pasta. It’s a great place to start for beginners as well.
Gnocchi with Red Pepper Cream Sauce
1 cup of flour (plus more for dusting your work surface)
1/2 tsp of sage
1/4 cup of white wine (I used chardonnay)
2 tbsp of butter & 2 tbsp of butter (your roux, a thickening agent for your sauce)
1/2 of a tomato (peeled, diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
500ml of milk of choice (I usually do half almond milk, half 2% milk)
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
Optional : fresh parmesan
Bake your potatoes in the oven at 375F for 35-40 minutes. Until your knife easily pokes through. Peel the potatoes and put them through a ricer so they are thin strands. Put them in a big bowl, add your flour, sage, pepper & salt, create a well (a small indent in the flour) and crack your egg in the well. Knead or cut all ingredients into each other being careful not to overwork the dough.
In the meantime, simmer your tomato and pepper in the white wine. Add 1 tbsp of butter. Let this go until your veggies are soft.
Once you have your dough formed, put it on a dusted surface and roll out into a sausage shape. Cut your gnocchi about the width of your finger, and the length shouldn’t be more than the width of two fingers. Or just under 1″ squares. Put a pot of water over medium on the stove.
With your vegetables, add the remaining butter and 2 tbsp of flour to create your roux. Don’t let your roux burn, it should take only 2-3 minutes for it to be ready.Gradually add your milk, stirring often to keep the sauce consistent throughout. Let stand on medium heat, stir often until simmering (this is how thick it will get) Puree your sauce until smooth, and no chunks of vegetables remain. Add cheese, salt and pepper. Put back on medium heat.
In your boiling water, add your newly formed gnocchi. When they float to the top they are finished. Drain and add sauce to your gnocchi. Garnish with pepper, and fresh parmesan.