I have yet to make fresh pasta, for lack of this KitchenAid Mixer pasta attachment, but I thought I’d try making some gnocchi. My Essential Pasta Cookbook has the basic gnocchi recipe, and I made a few adjustments.
Herb Gnocchi with Pesto Parmesan Sauce
2 large potatoes (about 1 lb)—use old potatoes—supposedly these are more starchy and make for better gnocchi. I let mine sit for about 4 days.
about a cup of flour
3 tablespoons chives
3 tablespoons basil
teaspoon of salt
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons pesto
1-2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
First, cook your potatoes (I baked mine). Scoop out the insides and let them cool. Add your egg yolk, herbs and salt and MASH. Mash those babies like there’s no tomorrow. I ended up with a few chunks of potato in my dough—not ideal.
Then, slowly incorporate the flour while kneading the dough. Basically, you want a dough that is damp but not super sticky. Keep adding flour until you get there.
Flour your work surface and being rolling long small portions of the dough into long ropes about the width of your thumb (that’s for the ladies—you big-pawed guys should aim for about the size of your ring finger). Then, using the side of a fork, cut the rope into 1 inch pieces like this:
Hopefully these pictures give you an idea of how to form the gnocchi—the book’s description didn’t help me one iota. I mastered my technique via YouTube.
First, take a piece and rest it on the tines of your (floured) fork. Using your index finger, press down like so:
Then, peel the gnocchi off the fork, while simultaneously folding it over itself to form a little pocket on the other end:
There you go, you got it.
See what I mean about the pocket?
If this awesome, step-by-step tutorial isn’t enough, here’s the YouTube Video. You might want to watch it if for nothing else than the awesome, robotic narration of “CHOW! HOW TO!” in the beginning.:
Once you’ve formed the gnocchi, line them up (not touching) in rows until you’re ready to cook them. You can also freeze them, but be sure to freeze them in a single layer, not touching. Once they are frozen like that, you can throw them all in a freezer baggie or tupperware.
Cook them in boiling water until they float to the top. Drain and gently toss in the sauce.
And since every pasta deserves a protein partner …
3 chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup flour
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
Fresh ground pepper
First, set the oven to 375 degrees. Season your chicken with a little salt and pepper (I wait to add the thyme in the baking dish, otherwise, it just falls off in the skillet). Then brown the chicken in a skillet and set it aside in a baking dish. Now sprinkle the thyme.
Heat the butter, white wine, chicken stock, juice of half of the lemon, and fresh ground pepper in a sauce pan. The stock should add sufficient saltiness, but you can taste and add more if needed. I cooked the sauce down a little and added some flour to thicken it up. Here’s a tip—either sloooowly sprinkle the flour in a little at a time while stirring, or make a roux to pour in, using water and flour. Otherwise, you’ll end up with big chunks of flour in your sauce.
Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes (if the chicken breast are large, you may want to cook them a little longer).
To serve, spoon some extra sauce over the chicken and squeeze the other lemon half over the dish.