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Purple Potato Gnocchi

Purple Potato Gnocchi

Lessons From Cooking School, Recipes

My friend Tasty Trix inspired this post today.  Not only does she have  slight obsession with gnocchi, but she also posted a Purple Potato Shepherd’s Pie today, on the heels of her Basque (Purple) Potato Tortilla from last week.  I, on the other hand, have been sitting on these lavender feather-light pillows for over a week (actually 2).

I have no idea why I haven’t been able to write these babies up.  They were easily the best gnocchi I have ever made.  So light as to be called fluffy, they also had the body required to stand up to a simmer and then a pan-fry.  And it`s all down, I’m certain, to the potatoes.  They are a result of the hard work of my favourite farmers down the road, and some of the flouriest potatoes I have ever come across.

So, if there is anyone out there doing a procrastination study, I’m your test subject — I don’t even need the honorarium — just tell me why.  Please?

purple-potatoes-milled

Gnocchi can be a tricky thing.  It’s more of a technique done by feel, rather than a strict recipe.  I was taught how to make potato gnocchi by my Austrian chef-instructor, who grew up with his family on the Italian border.  This is what he told me:

Bake potatoes in their jackets until tender.  Scoop out the flesh, and put it through a food mill while still warm.  Add 1/3 (by weight) of white flour, one egg yolk for every 2 potatoes, and a good seasoning of salt.  Mix with one hand to bring it together into a ball, but do not over mix.  Knead it lightly 3 or 4 times, then allow it to rest, covered with a clean lint-free towel until completely cooled.

purple-potato-skins purple gnocchi pillows

In real life, this means that I baked 6 medium-sized potatoes at 375° for about an hour.  After they were milled, I added approx 1 cup of flour and 3 egg yolks.  Once mixed, the dough formed a non-sticky dough quite nicely.  I used a little bit of flour to dust the counter when I shaped them, as below.

To shape the gnocchi, roll a tennis-sized ball of dough into a log about the diameter of your thumb.  Cut into 1 inch pieces, then roll down a fork to finish.  I’m not even going to try to describe the action in words.  Watch this video — it shows you how to do it much better than I could ever even try.

purple-gnocchi-rolling

Next, I brought some salted (like the sea) water to a boil, then simmered the gnocchi in 2 batches, until they floated to the surface of the water.  I drained them, then cooled them on baking sheets so they didn’t form into a glue-ball.  From there, you can proceed directly to dinner, or you can freeze them on the baking sheets until firm, then drop them into a sealed bag and back in the freezer for another day.

Those 6 potatoes made enough for 4 generous main-course servings.  On the first night, I fried them in clarified butter, then tossed them in some freezer-pesto (still going strong 4 months later!) and served them with lots of freshly grated Parm.  Insane with a Caesar Salad.

For our second Gnocchi-night, I took them out of the freezer to defrost about an hour before dinner.  Once defrosted, I sauteed them in some sage-infused brown butter, with the fried sage leaves (and more Parmesan) as a garnish.  Also insane, served with a raw beet vinaigrette.

purple-gnocchi--basil-pesto

So, if you’ve got access to some purple potatoes, purple gnocchi is a good option.  Just don’t let time pass you by.