Never in my life had i imagined that i would make gnocchi at home. but the introductory note in the book said that "homemade gnocchi is very simple" and is 'one of the first cooking projects that the author involved are kids in.' so i thought... o.k. lets give it a try. and yes. few hours later i realized this is that making gnocchi is indeed that easy... once you have got the hang of it.
Taste wise, my sweet potato dumplings did not come out 'as light as clouds,' as the book described them to be. clearly there was plenty of scope for improvement of the texture of my gnocchi. but since it was my first attempt we tried overlooking that and concentrated more on the the creamy red pepper sauce that i tossed it in. the sauce was finger-licking delicious. and there was an immediate request for its inclusion in the next weeks menu.
since there was no green in the gnocchi and sauce, to add color to the plate i served it with baked kale chips. and the two paired pretty well. also, just for curiosity i tossed few dumplings in store-brought ragu... that too tasted good and according to Nishi the potato taste of the dumplings was somewhat more identifiable in the ragu tossed ones. however i liked the gnocchi tossed in red pepper sauce more. i could faintly taste the paneer in it and i really enjoyed that. now over to the recipe....
To make the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce,
i used the following ingredients
homemade sweet potato gnocchi (as prepared below)
the red pepper sauce (as prepared below)
for the garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon pine nuts
and proceeded as follows....
I boiled water in a large saucepan with a generous amount of salt, dropped about 10-12 gnocchi into the water at a time and cooked them until they returned to float on the surface of the boiling water. 2 to 3 minutes. i then removed them with a slotted spoon and tossed them immediately with the prepared sauce. then garnished it with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and pine nuts.
though i mentioned Lucinda's Rustic Kitchen in the beginning, i adapted my recipe of gnocchi from Oh My Veggies. and for the sauce i used this recipe as a guideline.
For the sweet potato gnocchi
the ingredients and what i did
2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes, rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork1/4 cup homemade paneer
1/4 cup pureed tofu
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
a pinch of brown sugar
about 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling and shaping gnocchi
i preheated the oven to 425 degree F, speared the potatoes lightly with a fork in a few places and directly placed them on the oven rack and cooked until completely tender, about one hour. when cool to handle, i cut the potatoes open, scooped out the flesh and mashed it with my masher, then spread them out on a baking sheet and allowed them to cool completely.
next in a bowl i blended the mashed potato with all the listed ingredients other than flour. then slowly blended in the flour into the mixture adding 2-3 tablespoons of flour at a time, until the dough pulled away from my hands and felt like pizza dough.
next i sprinkled some flour on a work surface, separated the dough into several pieces and rolled each out into around 1 1/2 feet long ropes and using a knife cut each rope into 18 one inch pieces.
up to this point i followed the instructions in the recipes.. but then they became confusing. the book said " To form the gnocchi, dip a fork in flour, then place the tines on top of a piece of dough. Applying medium pressure, gently roll the gnocchi toward you with the fork, releasing pressure gradually as you roll, until it is completely rolled off the tines. Repeat with each piece of dough, placing the gnocchi on a floured baking sheet as completed. The pieces should resemble tiny footballs with a cup in the center," and the recipe i was following said something similar. and though theseinstructions make complete sense now... that night they didn't. so i googled and this video came to my rescue.
and viola !! using the tips from the video i got my first batch of gnocchi. yay !!
immediately afterwards, i spread the dumplings on a sheet of parchment paper, covered them loosely with a plastic sheet and froze them to use later.
For the red pepper sauce
the ingredients and what i did.
1 medium sized red pepper
1 medium sized onion
2 cloves of garlic, minces
1 medium sized potato, peeled and boiled
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons + 6 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon capers
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3 tablespoons dried basil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
sugar to taste
i preheated the oven to 425 degree F, then cut the red pepper and half of the onion in thin stripes and along the minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, wrapped them in an aluminium foil and baked them for 15 minutes.
next i sliced the remaining onion into thin stripes and fried it in butter over medium heat until it was soft and light brown. then i added milk to this and when the milk started simmering i stirred in the mashed potato, baked red pepper-onion mixture and capers into it and heated it for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. i then transferred the mixture into the blender and pureed it along with Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, sugar, basil and parsley. then whipped the mixture while gradually adding the remaining olive oil into it until it achieved the creamy consistency that i wanted in my sauce.
so that is what i indulged in over the weekend... i certainly look forward to making more of this in the recent future... what about you? have you tried your hands at gnocchi... do you have any tips to share. do drop in a line... i'll love to hear....
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