Great Gnocchi!

What's Cooking with Herbs? And What is Gnocchi?

Much like perogies, Gnocchi is a pasta-like potato dumpling dish made with herbs and cheeses and served with sauces. The combination of herbs and cheeses with sauces is endless. One of the most popular combinations is ricotta and parmesan blended with basil in the dough and served with a tomato sauce. Instead of stuffing the pasta like ravioli, the additions are blended right in. Cheddar and sage gnocchi is great served with left over turkey and smothered in gravy. Some people enjoy garden greens like parsley, watercress, spinach and even nettles. Gnocchi can even be made from squash, beets, pumpkin and other vegetables on hand once you get the knack of it.

The key to a good gnocchi is in the blending of the ingredients. As simple as it sounds care must be taken to not over mix to keep the dumplings fluffy. Once the dough has been prepared it is rolled into sausage like lengths and cut into about 1 inch pieces. traditionally Gnocchi is then rolled using the grooved Gnocchi board or butter paddle. A fork can also be used to help form shapes such as balls or twists.

Gnocchi is gaining popularity because it is so easy to prepare for a busy family and yet is nice to serve to guests with a little wine and some fresh sprigs.

Basic Gnocchi Recipe

Take one and a half pounds of boiled potatoes that are still warm and mash by hand. Turn out onto a floured surface and blend in half a cup of flour and two egg yolks. Add the flour just a little at a time until the dough firms up. Add in your cheese and herbs, finely grated and chopped. Gently fold to mix the ingredients and do not over work the dough to keep the gnocchi light and fluffy. Divide the dough into 4 or 5 sections and work with one at a time. Roll out the dough to form a sausage like shape and cut into one inch lengths. Use a fork or paddle to roll into balls. Lightly dust with flour. The gnocchi balls should not be sticky, nor too firm and dry.. Cover the balls with a damp tea towel and let sit for an hour.

To cook the gnocchi, bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and gently place the gnocchi in. Stir once or twice to keep them from sticking together. Turn down the heat to a simmer and once the gnocchi rises to the top they are done. This only takes about 3 to 4 minutes.

Lift out the gnocchi and toss in a bowl with olive oil and herbs or place on dish and cover with sauce and add a little grated fresh cheese to the top. Serve hot. This recipe will serve 4 to 5.

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