Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto
March April 2014
From Nicole Gomes
2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) yellow flesh or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 T. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
extra salt to taste
grated parmesan cheese for serving
Scrub the potatoes and place them, unpeeled, in a large pot of well-salted water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until tender all the way through, but not falling apart (a kitchen knife passes all the way through with some resistance). It’s important that the potatoes not be overcooked. Remove the potatoes, and when they can be handled, but while still hot, peel them and “rice” them by passing them through a vegetable mill or potato press into a large bowl. (Don’t use a food processor; it will turn the potato to glue.)
Add the 2 T. of salt, eggs, and all the flour to the potatoes, working in the flour with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough gently for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured board or wooden work surface. Taste and knead in more salt if you wish, but be careful not to overwork the dough – it should be soft and supple. Divide the dough into 5 or 8 equal pieces. While you work with each piece, cover the other pieces so they don’t dry out.
Roll each piece into a rope about 3/4-inch in diameter and 8 to 10 inches long. Cut each rope into regular pieces, about 3/4-inch long. Continue until all the dough has been rolled and cut.
If you wish, roll each gnocchi along the tines of a fork to impress the soft dough with texture.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the gnocchi. (Do this in two or three batches). Boil the gnocchi until they rise to the top, then remove them with a slotted spoon, let the water drain off well, and transfer them to a bowl. Lightly toss the hot gnocchi with pesto (recipe below) and sprinkle with parmesan cheese just before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
4 c. (packed) fresh basil leaves, no stems
1 large garlic clove
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
Put the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan cheese into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add olive oil in a stream to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt. Store in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil to cover. Keeps in the fridge for one week. Makes about 1 cup.