Gnocchi with Sweet Peas, Tomatoes and Sage Brown Butter

Wednesday, 22 Jul 2009

gnocchiplateThis is far and away the best gnocchi recipe I’ve found, and it’s from Food and Wine:  Gnocchi with Sweet Peas, Tomatoes and Sage Brown Butter.   Unlike some recipes for homemade gnocchi, like one for spinach gnocchi I tried not too long ago, this one is simple enough that even if it’s your first time making the little dumplings from scratch, it will probably work out.  Not only that, the combination of sage, browned butter, lemon zest, tomatoes and peas comes together beautifully to make this a very fresh and flavorful dish.  The proportions in the recipe are perfect — the lemon really came out in the taste, but wasn’t overpowering.  If you can’t tell, I really loved this recipe.  The total completion time including cooking the potatoes is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.


Instead of the three large baking potatoes called for in the recipe, I used nine small red ones because that’s what I had.  This turned out to be just the right amount, and they cooked in 30 minutes instead of an hour at 450 degrees.


I don’t have a potato ricer or food mill, so I used the next best thing: a sturdy sieve.  I smashed the potatoes through the sieve and that worked fine.


Here are the potatoes after going through the sieve.  The amount from the nine small potatoes made exactly two cups, the amount called for in the recipe.


This is the dough before mixing these ingredients together and adding the flour. You can add the flour gradually until you can tell that the dough will hold together, but not be too stiff or ‘”floury.”


Here’s the dough quartered.  Before I started kneading the dough, it seemed to be just the right consistency — soft and pliable.  Then I got into the kneading and realized it was a little too tacky, so I needed in a little more flour.  You should be able to roll out the ropes of dough without it sticking everywhere, and you should be able to handle the dough without it disintegrating in your hands.  On the other hand, you don’t want it to be tough — the dough should still be tender and very pliable.


“Ropes” of gnocchi before cutting.


Here are the cut potato dumplings.  I forgot to take a picture of them after I put in the grooves with fork tines.  Here’s a link to the best illustration of that process I’ve seen:  How to Make Gnocchi Like an Italian Grandmother.  The explanation I usually see for the grooves is that they help hold the sauce on the gnocchi.


Here’s a panorama of the various ingredients that went into this dish.  Instead of yellow pear tomatoes, I used two “Romana” tomatoes — like extra large Romas.  I quartered them lengthwise and then sliced them about 1/4 inch thick.  I chopped the sage although the recipe called for whole leaves.  I just don’t like getting a whole sage leaf in one bite. The lemon zest adds a lot to the recipe — don’t skip it if you can help it.


In addition to the sage I mentioned, I used a little bit of curly parsley from my herb garden instead of the flat leaf called for in the recipe.  Here the herbs are sauteing in the butter, and the butter is just about to brown.  When it gets to the point of looking a little brown, be careful not to let it go much longer because it can scorch really fast.


Mmm… gnocchi in sage brown butter.  If you have none of the other ingredients on hand, this makes a great meal in itself.  Comfort food at its best.


Here the peas and tomatoes go into the pan.  All that’s left to do is toss them together, let them heat through for about 2 minutes, and then toss with the parmesan.  Hope you enjoy this great meal!

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