Saturday, September 14, 2013

September Daring Cooks' Challenge - Gnocchi

Oh my gosh, I almost missed a Daring Cooks' Challenge.

That has never happened before.

But all of a sudden, I looked at the date and went OH NO! Where in the world is the time going? How in the world are we in the middle of September already?  And this month's challenge is a good one!

Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!

I love gnocchi. I have made it a few times before, and have even blogged about it a few times... here and here.  So when I saw that we were going to make it again this month, I was excited!

I started thinking of what I could do with gnocchi that would be new and different. Add a vegetable. Maybe spinach. Or carrots. Or beets.  Or maybe use purple potatoes.

But then I blinked and it was two days before the posting date. So I went with what I had, and what I knew we'd all love.

Yukon golds.  Which I roasted in the oven rather than boiled.

And then I tried something else new. As I've mentioned before, I don't have a ricer, the preferred tool for breaking down cooked potatoes for making dough.  I have mashed, fork-riced, and even borrowed a ricer in the past, but this time, following Smitten Kitchen's recipe, I used a box grater.

Then it's a simple matter of adding in one egg, a bit of salt, and just enough flour to hold everything together.

The hardest part of making gnocchi (other than how messy the process can get...) is shaping the little potato-pasta-pillows.  I start by taking a section of the prepared dough and rolling it into a long snake.  I then cut that into equally-sized puffs.

(okay, as equal as I can manage...)

I then take each little puff and carefully, using my thumb, roll it down the tines of a fork to create the signature ridges.

Little man tried his hand at this process, too...

Hey, it's a messy process anyway. What's a little more mess, especially when he had so much fun "helping"?

Once all the dough is rolled, cut and ridged, I had two cookie sheets full of these delightful little morsels.

Now, my usual method of cooking gnocchi is to bring a big pot of water to boil, throw in the gnocchi and wait until they rise to the top.

But, after seeing some of the completed gnocchis on the Daring Cooks' forum, I saw that some people were pan frying their gnocchi. Say what? I didn't know you could do that!  So, while I still boiled most of my gnocchi, since that's the guaranteed way to get the kiddos to gobble it up, I tried my hand at pan frying about a quarter of them.

I started by sauteeing half of an onion in some olive oil, added two chopped roma tomatoes, and then threw in the gnocchi.

Okay, not totally photogenic... the gnocchis kind of stuck together and made a bit of a mess, but oh my gosh was this delicious.  I will definitely be doing this again, and playing with flavors, as well, since cooking them right in a pan sauce is so easy to do.

All in all, this was a huge success, despite my last-minute rush. The box grater worked like a charm and these gnocchi (from both cooking methods!) were light and fluffy and absolutely delicious.  I am so glad that I learned a new cooking method for them, too, as this just creates new, wonderful and delicious possibilities for our gnocchi-cooking future.

Todd, thank you so much for this awesome challenge.

To see the full challenge as presented by Todd, check it out here.

To see the other delicious gnocchi cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

Potato Gnocchi
(from Smitten Kitchen)

2 pounds potatoes (recipe called for Russetts, I used yukon gold)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for between 45 minutes and one hour (depending on the size of your potatoes), until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
Peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, food mill or grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips.
Pour the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about three or four minutes.
Divide it into 6 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a long rope, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
You can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. To create the ridges, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.
Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured or parchment-lined dish. If you’d like to freeze them for later use, do so on this tray and once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag. This ensures that you won’t have one enormous gnocchi mass when you are ready to cook them.
To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.
Alternately, you can pan fry the prepared gnocchi in a lightly greased pan. Play around and find the method you like best!



  1. Nicely done ! I also used the box grater,so convenient :D So did you prefer the boiled gnocchi or the fried one?

  2. I can't believe it's mid-September either! Your gnocchi look great. What a good idea to use a box grater for the potatoes.

  3. I used a grater too, and pan fried (after boiling and storing in oil in the fridge). Yours look so yummy.

  4. I wish I thought of the grater! My ricer was MIA and I won't even recount how I ended up breaking these down.

    I usually boil mine and then pan fry them in a little oil or butter, but had them straight up this time. So good!

  5. I too was surprised to know you could pan fry these! I can't wait to try pan frying them the next time I make gnocchi
    Love the pictures with little man helping :)

  6. Gday and WHERE does time go, true!
    Your gnocchi look delish and wish could try them now too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as Part of The Daring Kitchen Cooks Challenge Sept 2013


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