Gnocchi….yummmm…..cheese sauce…yummmm….put them together….you’ve got a party goin’ down in your mouth!!! I’ve seen it around Pinterest a few times (not enough if you ask me!-it should be all over the place, because it’s the best idea ever!!) and my sister and I immediately knew we HAD to make it. So last night, we got down to business. Gnocchi is really easy to make. It may seem intimidating, but I promise you, it’s not! Especially if you follow my directions-the ones that I’ve learned from all the mistakes I’ve made! lol
Firstly, potatoes…you think that you need a lot of potatoes, but you’re wrong. The 2 medium sized potatoes I used (I didn’t weigh them, but you can see how big they are in comparison to the paper plate they’re sitting on) was the perfect serving size for my sister and I (and we’re pigs!!). So I’d say make 1 potato per person, and if you’re having a lot of people over, add an extra or two.
Gnocchi: (serves 2)
- 2 medium sized russet potatoes
- 1-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel your potatoes, cut them into large cubes, and boil them in salted water until soft. Mash them, and add your flour and salt. You need to add flour until you get a dough you can work with. It’s ok if it’s a little sticky, because you can add extra flour as you roll it out. You just don’t want the dough to be sticking to everything. I start with 1 cup, and then add a little and mix it until it comes together, repeating if necessary.
After you’ve made your dough, take a handful and roll it out a thin log. Cut it into little squares using a knife, or dough scraper. You don’t want them to be too big, because they won’t get completely cooked through, and you don’t want them to be too small, because it will take forever to roll them all out. I cut them anywhere between 1/2in – 1in, depending on how thick the log is. You definitely want them to be as even as possible, that way they finish cooking at the same time. Once your little “pillows” are cut, drop them into a bowl of flour, shaking them around to completely coat them. This is to prevent them from sticking to your fingers and the tool you use to shape them.
The paddle I used to form the gnocchi, is actually a tool used in the process of churning butter. They used it in the school I went to, and showed the difference between rolling the dough on the fork, and the paddle, and it was so much prettier-and easier!-rolling it on the paddle. You can actually see the difference for yourself on my friends blog, Momoftwosalums, where we made gnocchi with a sage wine butter sauce (it was delicious!!), and took a picture of using both the fork and the paddle. The fork however IS the traditional tool used to make the gnocchi, and still results in the most important part of the gnocchi, which is the little “scoop” it creates when your roll the dough over the edge. That helps hold all that delicious sauce!! Shake off any excess flour on the little “pillows” and push down as you roll the dough towards the edge of your preferred tool. Practice makes perfect! This is the ideal shape and size you’re aiming for.
Place your shaped gnocchi onto a lined pan, separating each piece. Trust me, if you just throw them into a bowl, they will all stick together, and the more you add, the more weight they’re will be, pushing down on the bottom pieces, and causing them to clump into one large chunk of dough…..I unfortunately learned this the hard way!!
Place a few of them into boiling water (my sister and I did about 10 at a time), and scoop them out a few minutes after they rise to the top. A slotted ladle (specifically a spider ladle) is perfect for this. You can always stick one or two in the water to start with, so you can taste one and get an idea of how long it will take for them to cook through. You can add them to a bowl, or directly into your sauce once cooked.
I use this recipe for my cheese sauce, as I was vegan for 4 years. While I do eat dairy now, my sister and I agree this sauce is better than any dairy cheese sauce we’ve ever had!
Vegan Cheese Sauce: (Adapted from What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway?)
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup of warmed soymilk (or cows milk)
- 1 tsp. salt
- pepper to taste (I add A LOT!!)
- 1 tbs. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I use the brand Follow Your Heart) (or dairy cheese!)
***Note we were left with some extra sauce, which I always save for another dish, or to dip some veggies in, but if you don’t want any leftovers, I’d half the recipe)
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk until golden yellowish brown. Slowly add your warm milk while whisking to prevent clumping. Add your nutritional yeast and shredded cheese. Whisk until completely melted and creamy. Add to your gnocchi, and here stands perfection!
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