Paula and I made gnocchi tonight. We had the evening together since she is not working again until Saturday. For some time, we had been talking about making gnocchi and after reading an article about it in the newspaper last week, I decided that it would be a treat to make since we had the time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

Pierce the potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave until they are cooked. Let cool slightly so that you can handle them. Peel the warm potatoes and push them through a ricer into a bowl. Stir in the egg, cream, salt and nutmeg.

Put the flour onto your work surface and make a well in the center. Add the potato mixture to the well. Use a pastry scraper to cut the flour into the potato mixture. Keep working it until the dough comes together and is soft and a little elastic.

Roll the dough into a large log and then cut into 3 equal sections. Working on a floured surface, roll 1 section of the dough out into a long rope about 1/4-inch in diameter. Use a knife to cut the roll into 1/2-inch long nuggets. Dip the tines of a fork in flour and roll each nugget gently against the tines to score the nugget and create a slight oval. Use your thumb to create a small dimple in the oval. Drop the oval onto a floured baking sheet. Repeat to roll and shape all the dough.

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At this point you can refrigerate the gnocchi for several hours. Alternatively, you can freeze the gnocchi on the baking sheet until they are solid and then put them into plastic bags to freeze up for several weeks.

When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the refrigerated or still frozen gnocchi into the water and cook until they float, about 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately with the sauce of your choosing!

I made a tomato sauce to go with the gnocchi. It was quite tasty but that may be due to the fact that it had pancetta and leeks and fire-roasted tomatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 ounces of pancetta
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes or dried apricots
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Salt and pepper

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until slightly crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Add the leeks, shallot and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, prunes, red pepper flakes and orange zest and juice.

Reduce the heat to medium and low and cook until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 4-5 minutes.. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until the gnocchi is ready. When the gnocchi is cooked, mix the sauce with the gnocchi and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

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This was a wonderful meal! The two of us enjoyed making the gnocchi. Paula got excited when the gnocchi started floating to the top of the boiling water. The sauce tasted amazing. The savory of the pancetta with the sweet of the dried apricots along with the leeks and fire-roasted tomatoes and shallots. It was a terrific combination. This is definitely worth making for a special occasion!!

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