My stomach seems to always trumps my ambitions. I was totally prepared to have a minimal prep meal but I made the
mistake revelation that gnocchi sounded tasty. Then it looked tasty. Then it smelled tasty. Then it tasted tasty.
And you know what, in the end, it really was minimal prep. Bake some potatoes, mash everything together, make a dough, make them into little pillowy nuggets and boil.
What you do with the your potato dumplings is up to you. The recipe I used had a few variations, but gosh darn it, brown butter is my weakness. Add in some earthy, hearty sage, a few splashes of sweet, robust maple syrup and potatoes never looked so good.
Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Maple + Sage
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, browned
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh sage
salt + pepper to taste
garnish with extra sage or pomegranate seeds
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, or until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. If your pressed for time, the microwave them for about 3 minutes until fork tender. 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. I found I needed to add all of the flour, (afterwards….) they turned a bit mushy when I boiled them, more flour gives them structure.
- Dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. Knead for about three or four minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and then divide it into 4 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips 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. I got a gnocchi board for Christmas last year, and feel compelled to use it; since it gets little to no use otherwise.
- 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.
1. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.
2. Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Add maple syrup. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Turn heat back onto medium high. Using slotted spoon, remove gnocchi form boiling water (or if you’ve cooked them ahead of time, retrieve them) and toss into butter mixture. Toss until coated. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, serve immediately.
*If desired, cook gnocchi undisturbed for about 10 minutes then toss and repeat, they will become golden and crispy on the bottom.