If you love pasta and potatoes, you’ll love gnocchi.
Gnocchi is a small, round pasta that’s made with potatoes, flour, salt and eggs. You can make your own or you can rely one of several store-bought varities. I really like gnocchi topped with a nice marinara sauce and served with a nice salad and a chunk of crusty bread.
I’ve come across several gnocchi recipes that have intrigued me. One is served with with bacon and tomatoes and has the flavorings of a BLT. Another is called Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi. I’m quite interested in this one because my garden spinach in coming on strong. The third is gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce. Sounds yummy. The last is Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and Basil Cream, which will be a nice home for my tasty herb.
Gnocchi with Bacon and Tomatoes
4 slices thick bacon, chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 13-ounce package refrigerated or shelf-stable potato gnocch
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or shredded lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat; add bacon and onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan of water to a boil; add gnocchi, cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
Add some of the cooking water to the skillet; cook, stirring, to make a sauce. Add parsley, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Heat, about 1 minute. Add gnocchi; toss to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 366 calories, 45 percent of calories from fat, 19 grams fat (10 grams saturated) 48 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 743 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi
4 6-ounce packages baby spinach leaves
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (about 16 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces), divided
½ cup (about) all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ cup butter, melted (or other sauce of choice)
Cook spinach in large pot of boiling salted water just until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Drain. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop spinach. Mix spinach, ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, flour, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg in large bowl until slightly sticky dough forms.
Dust large rimmed baking sheet with flour. Using floured hands, roll ¼ cup dough between hands and work surface to 5-inch-long rope. Cut rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece between palms to form oval. Transfer gnocchi to prepared baking sheet. Repeat rolling, cutting and shaping with remaining dough.
Working in batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until gnocchi rise to surface and are cooked through and tender, about 5 minutes (check at 4 minutes). Using large strainer or slotted spoon, remove gnocchi from water; drain. Place in overproof serving dish.
Pour butter over gnocchi; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan.
Yield: Serves 8 as an appetizer.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 220 calories, 11 g protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat, 100 milligrams cholesterol, 330 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, 64 percent of calories from fat.
The original recipe served these gnocchi on top of a ragu of beef. You can serve them simply as an appetizer course or as part of a ragu as an entree.
4 small russet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1¼ teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ cups (about) all purpose flour
TO SERVE (optional):
½ cup (1 stick) butter
Sauce of choice
Steam potatoes over boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes. Working in batches, press warm potatoes through ricer into large bowl (or place warm potatoes in large bowl and mash finely with potato masher). Cool until lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Add egg, cream, salt and nutmeg and blend well. Add 1½ cups flour and mix until soft and slightly sticky dough forms, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if too moist.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Divide into 6 equal portions. Gently roll 1 dough portion between hands and work surface to ¾-inch-thick rope about 20 inches long. Cut into ¾-inch-long pieces.
Roll each piece over wires of slender whisk or dinner fork to make grooves in gnocchi. Arrange gnocchi in single layer on floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 5 dough portions.
Cook 1/3 of gnocchi in large pot of boiling generously salted water until gnocchi rise to top and are cooked through and tender, about 5 minutes (check at 4 minutes). Using large strainer or slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to large baking pan; arrange gnocchi in single layer. Cook remaining gnocchi in 2 batches. (Gnocchi can be prepared ahead. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.)
To serve, heat ½ cup melted butter in a very large skillet and cook gnocchi, tossing often, until heated through, about 8 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired, or over your favorite sauce or beef ragu.
Yield: Serves 6 as an appetizer.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 7 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 510 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, 13 percent of alories from fat.
Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
2 cups heavy cream
2 ounces sweet Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fruity Italian white wine
1 teaspoon Cognac or other brandy (optional)
Salt and ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
In a frying pan over high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cheese and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the brandy, if using. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
Drain the gnocchi and immediately add them to the sauce. Toss well to coat. Spoon onto warmed individual plates and serve immediately.
Yield: Enough sauce for 8 appetizer portions.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 3 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams fat, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 25 milligrams sodium, no fiber, 96 percent of calories from fat.
Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and Basil Cream
1 pound, 9-ounce package frozen gnocchi
6 ounces oyster mushrooms
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, dark gills scraped off
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
½ pound frozen pearl onions (substitute 1 medium sliced sweet onion)
1/3 cup white wine
½ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half (can use fat-free) mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup chiffonade of basil
1/3 cup shredded Italian blend cheese or Parmesan cheese
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the gnocchi according to package directions, about 3 minutes. They are done when they float to the top. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, and transfer to a serving platter. Keep warm.
Lightly rinse mushrooms and slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute; do not brown.
Add pearl onions and continue to saute until they start to become tender and turn golden in color. Add the mushrooms. Cook until they release their juices and are tender, about 8 minutes.
Remove all the ingredients from the skillet and toss with the gnocchi.
To make the basil cream: Keep the skillet over medium heat and add the white wine. Deglaze by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the chicken broth and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half/cornstarch mixture over medium heat. Don’t have the heat too high or it will curdle. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the peas; cook 1 minute. Stir in the basil and cheese and heat through until the cheese melts. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi mixture and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6.|
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 347 calories (54 percent from fat), 21 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 22 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 558 milligrams sodium, 93 milligrams cholesterol, 361 milligrams calcium, 3 grams fiber.