>> Friday, July 24, 2009

Every time I make this, it always makes me miss having cable. I got this recipe from the Food Network channel years ago. Good ol' Giada. I used to love Everyday Italian. I'd never tried gnocchi before and always assumed it took a painstakingly long time to make. Boy, was I wrong.

Normally, when I'm in the mood for Italian food, my brain automatically wants fettuccine Alfredo. I loooove me some Alfredo sauce. Considering my hips/waist/thighs/rear don't love Alfredo sauce as much as I do, it's great that I found a yummy alternative. Speaking of Alfredo, I'm going to try topping my gnocchi with it next time I eat it!

This is super kid-friendly, too. My kids gobbled this up. And had second helpings. Second helpings!! We ate it plain the first night (with just butter and shredded Parmesan), but then my husband and I ate more for a late dinner last night, and we topped it with tomato sauce (spaghetti sauce works, or you can use tomato sauce that you season with oregano, thyme, etc). Either way, it's delish.

It would be a big hit at a party! Perfect finger food (well, skewered with toothpicks). It's great as a main dish (which is how we ate it this time) or as a side dish.

ALSO (did you know there was so much to say about gnocchi?!), since it's made from potatoes (starch), it's super filling. And it's a meatless meal. I'm always on the lookout for meatless meals, so that's another reason why I love this dish. Cheap, meatless, yummy, easy, perfect.

3 pounds potatoes (mine were on the smaller side, so I used about 8 potatoes)
3-4 cups flour
1 egg

Put whole potatoes in a large pot of water (you won't be eating the skins, so you don't *have* to wash them, but I do anyway). Boil for 45 minutes.

While still warm, peel the skins off (they're so soft that you can just use your fingers -- after letting them cool a bit first!).

Place in your mixer and whip with your whisk attachment. If you don't have a mixer, you can just use a large bowl (or the pot) and a potato masher. But when I first did it that way, it was too chunky, so I used my mixer instead. Perfect consistency that way. After it's blended, make a well in the center. Crack the egg into the well and then sprinkle with flour (start with 3 cups and add more if you need it).

Then you knead. Knead until it all comes together. Add more flour if you need to. Now, this next part you can do one of two ways (i.e. the traditional way or my made up way). The traditional way is to take softball size balls of the dough and roll them out into long strips (like as snake). Then you cut them into 3/4" size pieces. I didn't really like doing that, so what I do is just take a portion of dough and roll them into balls in my hands (probably 1-1.5" balls). Much bigger than the traditional size, but I like them better that way. Plus, I have young kids, so it's easier for them to stab their forks into that way.

Next, you drop them into a few inches of simmering water. Do it in batches so you don't overload your pan (which will lower the cooking temperature of your water and make the process take longer). Swish them around a bit while they cook so they don't stick together. When they float, they're done.

Drain, and then brown them in a couple tablespoons of butter until lightly browned.

Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan (or tomato/spaghetti sauce) and serve!

What's your favorite starch?


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