From Scratch Purple Gnocchi

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By now you should know that I love to work with odd ingredients.  So it should come as no surprise that when I saw purple potatoes on sale at Mariano’s that I instantly thought gnocchi.  I absolutely adore gnocchi when they’re made right.  Typically I make mine from ricotta.  The cheesy goodness adds a little extra boost to just about any dish they’re in.

But purple gnocchi?  What an awesome way to add extra color to a dish!  How often does anyone get to eat purple foods?  I mean besides eggplants or grapes or now purple cauliflower.  :)  It’s not that often.  If you’ve never made gnocchi, don’t fret.  It truly couldn’t be easier.  You’ll need one special tool that not everyone has in their kitchen.  That special tool is a potato ricer.  It sort of looks like a metal drum with tiny holes halfway up the sides and bottom.  Using a ricer on the baked potatoes makes them consistent in size and easier to work with.

The only other ingredients in gnocchi are flour and some salt.  That’s it!  Three simple ingredients to make these gorgeous potato pastas.  One extra note, I actually started with an entire two pounds of potatoes.  I baked and riced them, then removed one cup to make a different kind of gnocchi.  What I had left was exactly a pound.  So you may want to start with a pound and a half.  Just FYI.

Purple Gnocchi

1 lb purple potatoes, baked peeled and riced
2/3+ cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub potatoes clean and pierce all over with a fork.  Place potatoes on oven rack and bake until soft.  This will take 40-50 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.  Remove from oven.

While potatoes are still warm, carefully peel them.  Once peeled, rice potatoes into a large bowl.  Allow potatoes to cool for about 15 minutes.  Then add flour and salt.  Work potatoes with hands to incorporate flour.  Now this is where my directions will differ from all other gnocchi recipes.  I’ve found you can’t ruin gnocchi by overworking it.  Mine always turn out better when I’ve kneaded the heck out of them.

Turn dough out onto a floured counter.  Knead gnocchi, adding flour as needed (I added close to another cup), until the dough is soft, pliable and barely sticky.  Split into 4 portions.  Roll each portion into a thin log, if dough doesn’t roll easily it means you don’t have enough flour in it.  Cut gnocchi into 1/2″ and 1″ pieces.  Set on a floured baking sheet or one lined with a silpat.  Repeat with remaining portions.

Once you’ve cut all the gnocchi, you can run them down the back of a fork to get those cute lines you see on store bought gnocchi.  I rarely bother as they taste the same with or without the lines.  :)

You can either freeze the gnocchi at this point for later use or cook them.  To cook, bring a pot of water to boil and add gnocchi.  As soon as the rise to the surface they’re done.  You can then serve them or pan fry them with a little butter.

I also add them to soups and a variety of other dishes when I don’t want to use pasta or add crust to something.

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