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Homemade Gnocchi in Sage & Roasted Garlic White Sauce

December 29, 2010

It’s finally winter break which means I have time on my hands again!  This dish is absolutely inspired by my friend Jessica, whose adventures at the Natural Gourmet Institute have brought many stories of her cooking experiments into my life.  Last week she was telling me how easy it is to make gnocchi, so I decided I would give it a try!  Also, she has recently acquired a deep love of sage, so I figured I’d tap into this wintery herb.

Honestly, I expected the gnocchi making process to be a lot harder and more time-consuming, especially since I don’t have a potato ricer.  I did a lot of research online to see what recipes and tips I could find.  There were tons of warnings about texture.  To my surprise, it didn’t take long and my gnocchi came out nice and fluffy, not gummy like I had been warned.  The recipe makes enough for three hungry people or four not-so-hungry people.

Gnocchi Ingredients
1.5 lbs potatoes (3 small potatoes)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used seasoned salt)
5/8 cup all-purpose flour

Online I read about people who boil and bake the potatoes.  I didn’t feel like waiting that long, so I did the ol’ microwave baked potato trick.  I scrubbed the potatoes and poked a few holes in them.  Then I wrapped each in paper towels and microwaved them on high until they were all soft (about 10 minutes in my microwave).  When they came out, I halved them until they were cool enough to touch.  The recipes online call for a potato ricer.  I read up on alternatives and chose to go with the smallest side of my box grater.  I kept the skin on as a handle, but make sure to stop grating when you get to the skin!

I yielded about 2 cups of the potato mixture and made sure it was totally cool before continuing.  I didn’t feel like having to clean my stand mixer, so I folded in the egg and salt by hand with a soft spatula.  Make sure it’s combined, but don’t over mix!  Then I slowly sprinkled in the flour, folding it in until it was combined so that it formed a nice soft dough.  It had a similar texture to cookie dough.

The rest of the instructions are pretty standard.  Score the dough to divide it into four parts.  On a lightly floured counter, roll each section into an 18-20 inch long, 1/2 inch thick log.  Place the logs onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Now is the labor intensive part.  Cut the logs into short pieces (I cut on the bias, but some people just cut squares and roll them into egg shapes or whatever shape you feel inspired to make.)  I scored mine with a fork to make them prettier.

Bring salted water up to a boil.  One by one, drop the gnocchi into the pot.  Don’t overfill the pot…do them in batches if you need to!  After 2-3 minutes, they’ll start popping up to the surface.  As soon as they float up, remove them from the pot and put them on a plate or back onto the parchment paper.  Set them aside until the sauce is ready!

Sauce Recipe
3 tablespoons butter
5 cloves roasted garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch nutmeg

Melt the butter.  Mash in the garlic while the butter browns a bit.  Then sift in the flour to form a roux.  Slowly add in the milk, whisking to dissolve the roux into the milk.  Sprinkle in the sage, pepper and nutmeg and let the sauce simmer until it reduces and thickens up.  If it feels too thin, add a little of the starchy water from the gnocchi.

To serve, put a few spoonfuls of the sauce on the plate, top with some gnocchi, sprinkle with freshly chopped sage and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.  You can also top with parmesan cheese (always a hit!)

This was a fun digression from my usual Mexican style meals, and I’m always appreciative of inspiration for new dishes!

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