Returning home from my unplanned trip this weekend, I found myself with not only a house that needed straightening upon my return, but a pretty bare refrigerator. Before I received the phone call of my grandmother’s passing, I had planned to go to the market the next day. On the bright side, I guess, it is better having left with a bare fridge than having a pantry full of fresh items going bad.
What I did have available were a few potatoes and my pantry essentials. Plus a need and want for a project to keep my mind busy and gnocchi provided just that. Gnocchi isn’t a hard project, just a time consuming project. By the end of the afternoon, I had a clean apartment and these beautiful little potato pillows. Half of them I froze, the other half was adorned with a homemade red sauce and Parmesan cheese. So if you are like me and occasionally need a cooking project that relaxes you into a zen like state–this delicious gnocchi is calling your name.
Potato Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce
2 1/2 lbs potatoes (used 4 large Russets), washed and unpeeled
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Put the potatoes in a large pot and pour enough water to cover all the potatoes by at least two inches. Bring to a boil.and cook until they are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 40 minutes. Lift them out of the waterand let stand until cool enough to handle. The hotter the potatoes are when you rice them, the fluffier they will be. Scrape the peels off the potatoes. Send potatoes through a ricer or food mill. SPread the potatoes out in a thin layer to expose as much of their surface as possible.
While the potatoes are cooling, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
On a cool work surface, gather the cols riced potatoes into a loose mound with a well in the center. beat the eggs, 1 tsp salt, and pepper together in a small bowl and pour into into well. Work potatoes and egg mixture together with hands, gradually adding as much flour as necessary to form a firm but moist dough. Stop frequently as you scrape up the dough that sticks to the work surface and reincorporate. Forming dough should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into 6 equal portions. Using the outstretched palms and fingers, roll each piece of dough into rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rope cross wise into 1/2 inch pieces.Flour the pieces. Hold a fork at an angle on your work surface. dip the tip pf your thumb in flour. Take a dough ball and with the tip of your thumb, press lightly but firmly against the tines of the fork, rolling it downard. THe dough will form a dumpling with a ridged surface. Repeat with remaining peices of dough. At this point, the gnocchi can be cooked or frozen immediately.
If cooking, bring tomato sauce to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the gnocchi into the large pot of boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently. Cook just until they rise to the surface and roll over, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently scoop the gnocchi out of the pot with a large wire skimmer and add them directly to the sauce in the skillet. Bring to a boil and gently coat gnocchi with sauce. Take off of heat and add grated Parmesan. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Serve immediately.