My college roommate will order anything on the menu that has beef short ribs or gnocchi. She was the one who introduced me to gnocchi. I never thought it'd be that hard to make but I once attended a seder where the hostess served hand/homemade gnocchi and everyone was so impressed that I assumed it was a difficult feat. Imagine my disappointment (that I hadn't attempted this earlier) but also my excitement upon finding out just how easy this is.
My sister really likes gnocchi and I've been meaning to make some for her from scratch. (This is how I show my love, I make your favorite foods from scratch - tell the boys! haha). Anyway, I looked up a few recipes and was always confused at the simplicity, surely it had to be more difficult for people to be so impressed. As it turns out, the recipe/process is not difficult, just labor-intensive. (To be honest, I've only rolled a few of the gnocchi myself - my mom and sister are much better at actually producing the little buggers - I just prep the "dough" and cook them up).
The recipe I've relied on is from allrecipes. It's insanely simple. Boil two potatoes, mash 'em up, then add 2 cups of flour and 1 egg. Mix. Oh, here's a lazy woman's tip: dice up your potato before boiling - or at least quarter them. They'll cook so much faster and you're gonna mash 'em anyway so looks don't matter.
Then, flour your work surface, and start rolling and cutting. I was pretty blase about the prettiness of my gnocchi (it's going in your stomach, so the most important thing is how it tastes right?) so my mom took over pretty quickly, telling me my food was ugly. Actually, it went something like this, I was ripping off chunks of dough and throwing them into the pot. My mom walks over to see the cooked ones in a bowl and says, "What is that? That doesn't look like the gnocchi in restaurants - those are pretty and round." I said, "They have underpaid Hispanic workers doing it all day. I just got home from work, I'm hungry now, and don't have time to make pretty gnocchi." She then pushed me aside and started making "pretty" gnocchi.
|From left to right: dough, rolled dough, pinched off gnocchi waiting to be boiled|
Pop 'em into boiling water a slotted spoonful at a time. When they float up, they're ready to eat! You can see my ugly gnocchi in the middle of the plate and my mom's pretty rounded gnocchi at the bottom.
So, now we've made the gnocchi, how to serve it up 3 ways. It's really simple actually. I just made two sauces, and combined one.
I've never liked tomato sauce. Not on pizza and not on pasta. But I DO like it when I make it myself. I'm sure purists would be appalled at my method. Usually I make a super-light tomato sauce, heating olive oil and minced garlic, then adding cut up cherry tomatoes and serving when hot. For a more "traditional" (and the word is used SUPER-loosely here) sauce, I just add a little more tomato. I heat up a whole bunch of olive oil, throw in a tablespoon or two of minced garlic, chop up at least 4 normal-sized tomatoes, and let that all stew/simmer for 10 minutes (or however long it takes for the pasta to cook). I break down the tomato a bit with the back of a wooden spoon (because I don't like chunks/lumps in my food but my sister likes the chunks so I leave some for her). Here's my secret ingredient, miso paste (the original flavor). Just a healthy squirt. It adds a depth and umami flavor to the simplicity of the tomato mush.
|Tomato sauce w/some gnocchi keeping warm in it.|
|1 way: Tomato sauce|
|Look at the edamame and shrimp - fancy!|
|Seasoned edamame and chopped shrimp.|
|3rd way: Vodka sauce|
|All lined up to go into the freezer|
And just in case you don't even like waiting for potatoes to boil, here's the first recipe I wanted to try and still haven't. They use instant mashed potatoes to speed it up. I'll definitely report back if I try it. But now that I've seen how easy these are, I really see no reason for the hack.