Gnocchi

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Gnocchi is an excellent accompaniment for meat and poultry dishes. When prepared right, they are light as pillows, like dumplings. The secret is to not over mix the dough and to use just the right amount of flour. There are so many ways to make gnocchi; I prefer to bake the potatoes instead of steaming them, making a softer dough. Gnocchi is quite popular in the Mediterranean, with each country having their own version. I share below my version of Gnocchi which pairs well with bitter greens, like spinach.

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Potato Gnocchi

Recipe Chef George Hirsch | chefgeorgehirsch.com

2 pounds russets (baking potatoes)

Approximately 2 cups flour (variable) 

1 large egg

A pinch of sea salt

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes until easily pierced with a fork or a paring knife will easy slip through potatoes. Cool slightly, then peel the potatoes. 

Mash them while they’re still warm (a potato ricer or food mill works best). Season the potatoes with a pinch of salt and slowly knead in enough flour to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough; exactly how much flour depends on the moisture from the potatoes. Add the egg, and enough flour so the dough does not stick to your hands. 

Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, as it will resemble regular pasta dough. Divide the dough into four pieces.

Roll the dough out into a rope shape about 2/3 of an inch thick, cut the rope into one-inch pieces, and gently score the pieces crosswise with a fork to obtain slight ridges. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This may take a little practice. If the dough sticks to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it. Making this shape will help the gnocchi grab on to the tasty sauce it’s served with. 

Cook the gnocchi in abundant salted boiling water, removing them with a slotted spoon a minute or two after they rise to the surface. Drain them well and serve them with a few leaves of sage, melted unsalted butter and Parmesan, or meat sauce, or pesto sauce. 

Serve immediately while they are full of steam. The gnocchi are wonderfully light when hot. Once they cool off they become dense like a tire without air.

Gnocchi with Spinach

recipe Chef George Hirsch | Makes four servings

 1 lb. Gnocchi

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

2 cups fresh spinach, washed

4 fresh plum tomatoes, split de-seeded & chopped

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Fresh ground black pepper

Heat a large pot with boiling water.

Pre heat sauté pan to medium temperature.  Add olive oil, garlic, onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and cover, reduce heat and cook for one minute. Remove from burner until the gnocchi is cooked. 

Add Gnocchi to rapidly boiling water. Simmer, until all gnocchi float to the top. Then cook one more minute.

Remove gnocchi from water and place directly into sauté pan.  Add fresh plum tomatoes and 1 cup of water from gnocchi pot, heat gnocchi with spinach sauce for 2 minutes.

Serve Gnocchi & Spinach topped with cheese, basil and pepper.

Make ahead Tip: Place any remaining uncooked Gnocchi in a container, dust with corn meal and freeze until you are ready to boil.

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