Sunday, April 18, 2010
Do You Have One of These?
Contrary to what you might be thinking, this item belongs in the kitchen; and is not, ahem, a tool for kink (not that there's anything wrong with that).
This is a gnocchi board. I picked it up a few years ago at a kitchen supply store because I just HAD to have it....and proceeded to never use it. Not until a few months ago when I discovered just how freakin' easy it is to make gnocchi. And now, you too can enjoy the wonders of these little dumplings in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Shall we proceed?
More often than not, we have some leftover mashed potatoes in this house. And, when I'm not using them to make pierogies (a post for another day) I use them for making gnocchi. Why? because all I need is about a cup of mashed potatoes to make a side dish for 4 people. Yep. One cup of leftovers. It's a little "loaves and fishes" trick, if you will. For each cup of mashed potatoes, I mix in an egg and 2 cups of flour (approximately, depending on the how wet or dry your potatoes are).
Um, that's it. Naturally, you can double or triple this recipe to your liking but that's the ratio.
Just mix it all together with a fork (to eliminate lumps). You should have a nice little lump of dough, kind of the consistency of playdough.
To save time, fill a pot with water and turn it up to boil. While that is heating up, take a lump of your dough and roll it out like you would a snake (again, just like playdough--who said you can't play with your food?). With a knife (or bench scraper), cut 1 inch segments. You are half way there!
Now for the best part---YOU DON'T NEED A GNOCCHI BOARD!! Yeah, see, your last excuse to not try this recipe just flew out the window. Go get yourself a fork and let's get this show on the road. With your thumb, press the dough downward, creating ridges in the lump. Give yourself a couple of go's to get the rhythm; you'll be whippin' these puppies out in no time.
To prevent them from sticking together before you boil them, toss them with some flour. I don't even use a bowl at this point, just form a pile on the countertop. Then plop them into the boiling water (PLEASE-CAREFULLY! don't get burned). The gnocchi will float to the top, just like ravioli when they are fully cooked. Scoop out with a slotted spoon to drain on a sheet pan.
The hardest part is behind you. At this point, you can toss the cooled gnocchi in a ziploc bag and freeze them for later OR you can follow through with the cooking process of your choice and EAT THEM. Gnocchi is great sauteed in butter or tossed with your favorite sauce. Those little ridges your made (all by yourself-go you!) holds sauce nicely. I personally like to saute them in some browned butter and then toss in a handful of seasoned breadcrumbs (homemade of course!) until the crumbs are toasted and serve. mmmm.....and cheap.....and nobody's bitching about eating leftovers because they don't know they are.
Now, go look in your pantry and tell me you don't have an extra can of pumpkin you meant to make a pie with last Thanksgiving but didn't. Voila! ....flour, egg, dash of nutmeg=gnocchi. Sweet potato--same deal. And (drumroll, please!) you can make gnocchi with CREAM OF WHEAT. You love me now, don't you? Yeah, I know....bring the gnocchi board with you.