Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gnocchi di Patate al Burro e Salvia - Potatoes Dumplings (from scratch) with Butter and Sage

Small dumplings (Gnocchi) are one of the oldest preparations in the history of food, recorded as far back as cookbooks of the thirteenth century. In a fragment of a book of the 1300s there is a recipe for gnocchi written in the Tuscan dialectal language .
In spite of the long description, gnocchi are very easy to prepare. Gnocchi can be dressed with many sauces, but are especially good with pesto, Amatriciana sauce, Ragu', four cheeses, butter and fresh tomato sauce, or very simply butter and sage as in this presentation. The taste of the butter - sage dressing is very delicate and will enhance the taste of the gnocchi. Gnocchi are also one very refined dishes, worthy of the most sophisticated menus.
for the gnocchi2 lb (approximately 1 kg) whole old russet potatoes, unpeeled2 cups (approximately 300 gr) flour1 egg (optional)1 tablespoon salt

for the dressing
2 oz (60 gr) butter4 - 5 fresh sage leaves3 oz (90 gr) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Wash the potatoes, place them in a large stock pot filled with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft without overcooking to prevent them from breaking. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the potatoes. Peel immediately while potatoes are still hot and mash them on a work surface using a potato masher or a food mill.

When the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to be handled, shape them in a mound with a well in the center.


Add 1 cup (150 gr) of the flour, the egg, and salt. Draw the ingredients together and mix to form a dough.

At this point the dough will be sticky on your hands. Sprinkle a little of the remaining flour on the dough and work the dough with your hands until the potato dough incorporates the flour.
Continue adding flour a little at a time and kneading the dough, until the potato dough is no longer too sticky. The dough must be soft and fluffy: avoid incorporating too much flour.
Cut the dough into four pieces. Sprinkle the work surface with a little flour, and place the first piece on it.

Roll the dough into one or two long sticks approximately 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter. 
Then cut the sticks into pieces 3/4 inch (2 cm) long.

Roll the pieces in your hands to give them a rounded oval shape.

Roll the pieces along the prongs of a common fork using one finger, in a way that the side of the piece running along the fork will be ruffled and the side you are pressing with your finger will be a little concave.

Fill a stockpot three quarters full with water, bring to a boil, and add salt. When the water is at a fast boil, drop the gnocchi in a few at a time to avoid damaging them. The gnocchi will fall to the bottom of the pot.

In a skillet large enough to contain the gnocchi, place the butter and sage leave. Turn heat to medium to melt the butter.

After about 1 – 2 minutes the gnocchi will come up to the surface, and this will be the sign that they are cooked. Don't drain gnocchi in a colander as you would do with pasta. Gnocchi are very soft and may be damaged. Instead remove them as soon as they float to the surface, with the help of a large slotted spoon or strainer, draining thoroughly.

Transfer the gnocchi to the skillet and sauté briefly, stirring gently with a large spoon, until the gnocchi are fully covered by the butter.

Transfer to a serving dish, top with the grated parmigiano cheese. Serve hot at once.


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