- 1 kg of starchy potatoes, baked and riced (approximately 550g)
- 1 egg
- 175g flour plus more for rolling
- Salt to taste
- 4 Tbsp (60mL) butter
- ¼ lb (115g) dried morels, pre-soaked, or about 300g fresh a sprig or two of fresh thyme, minced
- 2–3 handfuls fresh nettle tips (or any other spring green available—blanched dandelion shoots could work well)
- 2 splashes of white wine
- 1 bulb roasted garlic
- 1 cup (250mL) whipping cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the gnocchi:
Form a well in the potato, pour the beaten egg into the centre, and sprinkle with flour. Combine. Knead to a soft, elastic dough—this shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes, as the longer the dough is worked, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become. This is really the balancing point—and one where a bit of experience comes into play. Stop adding flour as soon as the dough is smooth and only slightly sticky. Too much flour and the gnocchi will be hard; too little and that precious dumpling will disintegrate while cooking.
Rest dough for 5 or 10 minutes to allow the starch to absorb the liquid of the eggs and the gluten to relax. Lightly flour a cookie sheet and set it aside for the rolled gnocchi. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly, until it’s no longer sticky as you roll out lengths to about ½-inch thick.
Traditionally, the potato versions are curved with ridges on the outside and a small seam on one side, which helps them cook faster and hold the sauce. Alternatively try cutting the rolled lengths of dough on the diagonal with a small knife and quick hand.
Drop the gnocchi a few at a time into a large pot of boiling, slightly salted water. As they rise to the surface for a minute or two, spoon them out with a slotted spoon. Test them—if they cook too long, they are soft and mushy; not long enough and they won’t be all that fluffy. If the gnocchi are being served immediately, rest them drizzled with olive oil in a warm place as you finish cooking the batch, or add them directly to your sauce or pan. If you want to store them (for up to 48 hours), drop them into a bath of ice water, strain, and keep them lightly oiled in the fridge.
Gnocchi and gnudi freeze well: place them in the freezer on a well-floured cookie sheet and, when frozen, transfer them to a bag (with the flour) to pull out as needed. Cook gnocchi while still frozen so they don’t stick together.
For the sauce:
Sauté the morels and thyme in butter until just tender, adding the nettles with a splash of wine after a minute or two. Blend the peeled garlic cloves with the cream and another splash of white wine until smooth—if it’s too thick, add a little of the gnocchi cooking liquid (you can omit some of the cream and use the cooking liquid for a lighter result). Add to the pan with a few spoonfuls of Parmesan, a grind of black pepper, and salt, and heat lightly to meld flavours—adjusting the consistency and seasoning to your preference.
Editor's Note: If you'd rather let someone else make the gnocchi, try Chef Trevor Bird’s at: Fable Restaurant. 1944 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver. 604-732-1322. fablekitchen.ca
Recipe from Chashma Heinze with Thanks to Fable