Saturday, April 7, 2007

RECIPE! Passover-Friendly Gnocchi

THIS RECIPE IS easily (and better-suited to be) made sans-Passover modification. Like most other gnocchi, it's better the day-after when the flavor of the tomato sauce has had a chance to soak in. That's also when I had planned to take a picture of the result. Unfortunately, forks flew too fast to be stopped.

This simple recipe calls for very little other than prep time:

2 large baking potatoes (about 12 oz. each)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup flour (Passover substitute: matzoh meal)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

If you have these, gnocchi could be yours!

Soften the potatoes (microwave or bake in skins until tender and scoop out, or peel and boil till soft), and while the potato is still warm use a fork to mash well. Stir in egg, salt, pepper, and sift flour over mixture, stirring until just blended. Scoop out a large spoonful of dough and roll into a rope. Cut at intervals, rolling each with a fork to form grooves in the dough. Set aside as you repeat the process. When finished, drop all into pot of salted, boiling water and boil until all have risen to the surface, perhaps 3 minutes. Immediately remove. For the love of Italian grandmothers everywhere, please do not overcook.

This is another excellent blank slate recipe. Try out different sauces. Try adding different flavors to the pasta--cheese, sweet potatoes, spinach. Try baking after boiling. Mess around with it. The Italian grandmothers ask only that you do not overcook--you're aiming for a soft, doughy, rich, filling pasta, which is why it's sometimes best to just cover with tomato sauce, chill, and wait for tomorrow.

NOTE: my grandfather, actually, has an interesting technique for shaping the pasta, which my mother (who originally passed along this recipe) promises to explain in detail at some point. As the story goes, years ago, he would shape the gnocchi with two hands as fast as his mother could cut them. Naturally, this needs to be attempted.

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