Soft pillows of potato gnocchi, lightly seared and tossed in apple cider vinegar and honey with caramelized onions and cabbage.
My first experience with gnocchi taught me that there are no rules with what you can add to this dish. I had gnocchi for the first time at a friend’s restaurant in northern Italy and instantly fell in love. He had mixed potatoes and flour with a blueberry puree to make his signature dish. A blueberry gnocchi folded into a white sauce and topped with a healthy helping of cheese before being torched. The finishing touch was a dusting of crushed walnuts to add a little crunch. Although I am jealous of his creativity and the bold flavors he created, his creativity sparked my own with this dish.
I like to read up about food before I begin to make it. No sense in wasting time and ingredients for it to turn out a mess that ends up in the garbage. I have done my fair share of that, and have learned my lesson. I was chatting with a friend the other day about my multiple failures on my journey of self taught cooking adventures and we had some great laughs. I once decided I would try my hand at making popcorn from home, without using the store bought bags. Glass bowls exploded in the microwave. Microwave safe bowls melted at the high heat. That adventure was comical. Long story short, just use a paper bag if you are going to cook it in the microwave, and cast iron with a lid over the stove works great too.
That being said, gnocchi is not an exact science. There is a little finesse when it comes to preparation. I will give you estimated amounts of flour to potato ratios, but you will have to work with the dough and add additional flour as needed. The whole idea behind gnocchi is it’s potato flavor and light pillow texture. To achieve this, you need to reduce the amount of flour you use, while still creating a firm enough dough that won’t fall apart when cooked in water. I will explain in better detail below.
Here’s what you need:
2 medium russet potatoes
1 cup flour, additional for dusting
1 egg yoke
2 cloves roasted garlic (diced)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Finish the dish
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup diced red onions
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk (milk alternatives like almond or cashew can be used)
3 egg yokes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of corse ground pepper
You need to cook your potatoes before you can use them. There are a few ways to do this, but I would recommend baking them. Baking them will reduce the moisture and the amount of flour needed to form the dough. The less flour you use, the more tender and fluffy your gnocchi will be. You can also boil the potatoes, but you will have to add more flour to the mixture to form your dough. Once cooked mash or rice your potatoes. If you have a ricer, cut your cooked potato in half and place the cut side down in the ricer. If you don’t have a ricer, remove the skin from the potato and use a potato masher to mash the potato. Next you will need to mix in the flour, egg, salt, roasted garlic and powder. You can make this dish without an egg, but it will be more difficult to get the gnocchi to stick together while boiling. It will however make the gnocchi more soft, if you can manage. I like the cooking process to be a little more headache free, so I add egg to make my life easier. You can work the dough with your hands or use a pastry cutter to cut in the flour and egg. I would start with the pastry cutter, then move to working it with your hands. You don’t want to use a stand mixer or dough hook because the dough is very fragile and doing so will cause an over production of gluten. As a result you will have stringy dough that is snot like in consistency, and that is snot fun. Continue to mix in additional flour as needed until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands or the bowl.
Next you get to bring out your inner kid and make snakes from the dough. Remember as a kid when you used to make snakes from playdough, well this is the same concept. Roll it out and cut off 1/2 inch pieces. If you have a ribbed gnocchi paddle, great! If not, roll your dough into a ball and use a knife to make an indent in the middle or roll the dough over the back of a fork to create the ribs. Coat the finished pieces heavily in flour so the gnocchi doesn’t stick together when dropped in the pot. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Adding salt to the water will help bring it to a boil faster and add a great flavor to the outside of the gnocchi, but not necessary.
Boil your gnocchi in the pot. They will float to the top of the pot when fully cooked. Once cooked, strain and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch and stop the cooking process. Prep your vegetables. Heat a pan on the stove and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is heated, add your onions and cook until transparent. Next add your vinegar, honey and cabbage. Cook down your cabbage until soft before adding the cooked gnocchi.
For instructions on how to prepare the white sauce, refer to this recipe. Pour a little of this sauce on a plate and then place your gnocchi mixture on top of it. Dust with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!