My gnocchi journey that led to this Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce

Potato Gnocchi 1 - My gnocchi journey that led to this Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce

My posts about potatoes last week reminded me that I had this recipe waiting to be written about in my backlog. It seemed like an appropriate time to finally share with everyone how much I’ve grown to enjoy making gnocchi. It’s like being able to make pasta with my bare hands, but at the same time, gnocchi is kind of its own unique little thing.

It’s kind of sad that gnocchi isn’t that popular here in the Philippines, because then there’d be more restaurants making them. Luckily, they aren’t that hard to make at home, and the ingredients are pretty common as well. For this recipe, you literally only need potatoes, an egg, grated parmesan, and salt and pepper. That’s it!

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Since I have already made gnocchi before, I already knew more or less what to do with this potato gnocchi version. I’m not an expert by any means, but I still wanted to be able to make a little guide for you guys based on how I accomplished this recipe from start to finish.

I want to encourage you to try this recipe out as well because gnocchi is a lot of fun to eat, but I think it’s more fun to make! You will need a bit of time to make these, but it will be time well-spent once you see the little gnocchi take shape. I can’t decide if my favorite part is shaping these little critters, or watching them float up in the pot once cooked.

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So let’s get started on our gnocchi recipe by steaming some fresh potatoes. Yes you read that right: Steam, not boil!

Apparently, boiling potatoes can saturate it with water, and when the potatoes are wet they will need more flour to come together into a dough. The more flour your gnocchi has, the heavier they will become once cooked. (Learned all that from Taste.com.au!) What we want is something nice and fluffy.

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After steaming for 15 minutes, the potatoes should be easy to poke with a fork. The peel should be easy to scrape off with a fork too so do it gently. Now mash them peeled potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix it up and crack in your egg.

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Once you work the egg into the potatoes, they’ll start looking like creamy mashed potatoes.

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Now we add in the grated parmesan. As for the flour, we add it in gradually. Get half the flour in first and mix together with the parmesan and potatoes.

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The last of the flour should be added in two portions until a rough dough comes together. Now turn the dough out onto your lightly floured surface and start kneading it until it becomes smooth and all the flour is incoporated.

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While you’re kneading, if the dough seems a bit too soft, you can add a bit of flour at a time to get it to come together. We want a dough that’s just firm. I actually did not add any more flour than indicated on the recipe, and how I wish I did. The gnocchi ended up being a bit too soft for my taste, but I do prefer gnocchi with a bit more bite to it. To each his own I guess.

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Now once you’ve gotten your perfectly smooth dough, slice it into 4 equal portions.

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Work with one portion of dough at a time. Roll your first portion into a log about 30-cm long, and about 2-cm in diameter. Using a lightly floured knife, cut the log into 2-cm pieces.

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Now we just roll those cut-up dough into small rounds and get our forks ready.

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What is the fork for, you ask? Well, for those of us who don’t have one of those wooden things used to shape and score gnocchi with, a fork works really well. Just take one round and roll it against the tines of the fork. At the same time, allow your thumb to sink into the middle of the dough until the dough folds back on its own. Your goal is to create these indentations on the gnocchi where the sauce can cling on.

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Now make like a gnocchi machine and repeat the process with the rest of your dough. You want to set your uncooked gnocchi on a lined baking tray. At this point, you can take what portion you plan to cook and freeze the others. First freeze your uncooked gnocchi on a tray then transfer to a ziplock bag.

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To cook, all you have to do is bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop your gnocchi in a few pieces at a time. Try not to overcrowd so the gnocchi doesn’t stick together. At first they will sink to the bottom, but once they swim up to the surface of the water that means they’re cooked and ready to be taken out. Use a slotted spoon for this.

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This recipe is a solid one that makes some really fluffy gnocchi if you get the right amount of flour in. As I mentioned, I wish I added a bit more flour into the dough to make it more chewy, but the softness this had was a pleasant one nonetheless. I’m in love with these dumplings.

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The first time I made gnocchi I used sweet potatoes, and wow were they good! They had a natural sweetness to them plus a savory touch from the ricotta, making them perfect with just a browned butter and balsamic sauce. For today’s recipe I decided to do a tomato-based sauce for a change.

[READ ALSO: Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter-Balsamic Mushroom Sauce]

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The sauce starts out by mixing cream and tomato sauce together in a bowl or measuring glass. Then in a pan over medium heat, you sauté some garlic, bell peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Once the garlic has browned, add in the gnocchi and stir around for a few minutes. I actually like letting the gnocchi brown for a bit before adding in the cream and tomato mixture prepared earlier.

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The sauce thickens nicely the longer it rests, which means it becomes thicker and tastier once the gnocchi gets reheated. You don’t necessarily have to pair the gnocchi with this tomato cream sauce though. You can find a ton of other options on the web that feature a drier sauce. I actually like those more because they tend to be lighter. However if you’re in the mood for something rich and flavorful, you can’t go wrong with this creamy tomato sauce.

And while the serving on my plate doesn’t look like a lot, I can assure you that a handful of gnocchi is all your tummy needs to be satisfied.

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Potato Gnocchi - My gnocchi journey that led to this Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce
Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce
Potato Gnocchi - My gnocchi journey that led to this Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 4
A really basic potato gnocchi recipe that would go well with whatever sauce you choose. I just happened to be in the mood for creamy tomato sauce when I made this.
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For the gnocchi
  1. 800 grams potatoes, unpeeled and washed
  2. Sea salt
  3. Pepper
  4. 1 egg, lightly whisked
  5. 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  6. ¼ cup finely grated parmesan
For the sauce*
  1. 2 cups cream (heavy or all purpose should be fine)
  2. 2 cups tomato sauce
  3. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  7. Olive oil or other cooking oil
  8. 10 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  10. 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  11. 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, according to taste
Make the gnocchi
  1. 1. To a saucepan (I use a wok), add just enough water to reach a depth of 3cm. Fit a metal rack inside your saucepan or wok, making sure the base does not touch the water. Bring water to the boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place potatoes on a plate. Once the water is boiling, place the plate of potatoes on top of the metal rack and cover the saucepan or wok. Allow to steam for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.** Meanwhile, line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. 2. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and use a spoon to scrape off the potato peel. Be gentle; the peel should slide right off the soft flesh. Mash the peeled potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
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  4. 3. Add the egg and stir using a wooden spoon just until combined. Add half the flour and parmesan and stir together. Add the remaining flour in 2 more batches, stirring until well combined and a firm dough forms. If the dough seems too soft, add more flour. Just don't overdo it!
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  6. 4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide into 4 equal portions. Roll 1 portion into a log about 30-cm long, with approximately 2-cm diameter. Use a lightly floured knife to cut the log into 2-cm pieces.
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  8. 5. Lightly flour your hands and roll each piece of dough into a small ball. Using your thumb, push and roll each small ball over the floured tines of a fork. You want to create wells using the fork where the sauce can cling to later on. Place on the prepared tray. Repeat with remaining dough portions.
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  10. 6. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil over medium heat. Using a large spoon or spatula, drop just enough gnocchi onto the base of the saucepan such that they will form only a single layer at the bottom. You don't want to overcrowd them as they tend to stick together. Allow the gnocchi to cook until they rise to the surface. It won't take long.
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  12. 7. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the gnocchi, allowing the water to drain before transferring them to a bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
Make the sauce
  1. 8. In a bowl, whisk together cream, tomato sauce, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined and set aside for a moment.
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  3. 9. In a pan over medium heat, heat a bit of oil and add garlic, bell peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté until the garlic browns, just a minute or two. Add in the gnocchi and stir around for a few minutes. If the gnocchi starts to brown a bit that's fine.
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  5. 10. Reduce heat to medium-low then add in the prepared tomato sauce mixture. Mix thoroughly to make sure everything is well-coated with the sauce.
  6. 11. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add tomato sauce to the pan, mixing so that everything is coated in the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for a bit before removing from the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken and darken in color once the gnocchi is off the heat. (It will thicken even more once it cools and gets reheated, so your leftovers are going to taste pretty darn good.)
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Notes
  1. *This recipe makes quite a bit of gnocchi and you can actually cook just half of it and save the other half in the freezer for later. In that case, make sure to halve the measurements for the sauce.
  2. **Steaming rather than boiling the potatoes is better since boiling can saturate potato with water. This will increase the amount of flour required to make your gnocchi; thus once it is cooked it will become very heavy.
  3. Gnocchi adapted from Taste.com.au; Tomato cream sauce inspired by Savory Tooth blog
The Tummy Train http://www.thetummytrain.com/
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