Sunday, May 26, 2013

Homemade Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

I served this gnocchi dish as the main course when friends came over for dinner. It is great on its own, but if you are looking to add some protein to the dish, my marinated grilled chicken would be great in the pasta. (Just leave off the chimichurri.)


Gnocchi: (can substitute with store bought gnocchi, but homemade is so much better)
3 lbs. russet potatoes, cleaned
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

Basil Pesto:
5 cups packed basil
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pecorino
3/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Place potatoes in large stockpot and just cover with cold water. Bring to boil over high heat and boil potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes. You should be able to easily put a fork into the potato and remove it. While potatoes are still warm, carefully peel them and pass them through a food mill onto a large board. Spread out the potatoes and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Beat egg and pour over the potatoes. Then sprinkle the flour and salt over the potatoes. Stir everything together with a fork. Once combined, knead the dough with your hands. The dough should feel dry, not sticky. Add more flour if the dough still feels sticky.

Cut the dough into tennis ball size portions. Roll each portion into a log, about 3/4 inch thick. Then cut each log into 1 inch pieces. Put gnocchi in a single layer on a sheet pan and cover lightly with flour until ready to use.

Bring water to boil in large stockpot. Blanch basil for a few seconds and transfer to an ice water bath. This will ensure that the basil retains its color and your pesto will be beautiful and green. Drain basil in paper towels.

In a food processor, add the garlic and pulse until minced. Then add basil, pecorino, parmesan, pine nuts, and lemon zest. Pulse all ingredients while slowly pouring in olive oil. Continue to add olive oil and pulse until pesto is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add gnocchi. Cook until floating and tender, 4-5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and then drain. Immediately mix gnocchi with the pesto in a large bowl or serving dish. Add pasta water as needed to create a smooth sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.


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