Making gnocchi is something I’ve always shied away from – perhaps because I’ve eaten very good gnocchi as well as warm mounds of elementary school paste. Then I remembered that my son and his classmates made gnocchi in sixth grade. Which begged the question, “Are you as culinarily smart as a sixth grader?” Challenge accepted!
For the gnocchi:
- 2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 7 tablespoons whole milk ricotta
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
- 2 – 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup pitted green Gaeta olives, sliced in half
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Locatelli cheese
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped oregano
1. To make the gnocchi – boil the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, reduce the heat to medium high, simmering until the potatoes are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and let cool a bit. Remove the skins and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Add the flour, ricotta, salt, and eggs, and knead with your hands until it resembles a smooth dough. If it feels sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time – I had to do this a few times and was afraid the dough would be heavy – but it was fine.
2. Divide dough in quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with your hands into a 3/4″ rope. Cut the rope into 1″ pieces, transfer onto a parchment paper lined baking pan that’s been dusted with flour. Using your thumb, press down onto each piece making an indentation. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
3. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the red pepper flakes, garlic, bay leaf, onion, and rosemary until the onions are soft – about 5 minutes. Add the butter, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer on medium low heat until the sauce has thickened – about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaf and the rosemary sprig, and keep the sauce warm over low heat. Over medium high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Cook gnocchi until they float to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir olives, Locatelli, capers, and oregano into sauce. Transfer gnocchi with a slotted spoon into the sauce, and stir to combine. Serves six.
(Adapted slightly from Saveur.)