Herbed Gnocchi with Parmigiano Cream Sauce

Homemade gnocchi…translation: little potato pillows of love.  Had a bad day?  Make some gnocchi.  These little dumplings are one of the most comforting foods in the whole world, and also one of the most satisfying.

The other great thing about gnocchi is it’s the easiest fresh pasta to make, by far (remember when I made my 1-2-3 fresh pasta and rolled the dough out by hand with a rolling pin? Yeah, never doing that again.  I’ll be making gnocchi from now on).

I made these with my mom and my older brother all the time when we were growing up, so this post is dedicated to them!

Herbed Gnocchi with Parmigiano Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

For the gnocchi:

  • 3 pounds russet baking potatoes (don’t use waxy potatoes)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.75 cups all purpose flour (approximately)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (or you could do basil or whatever other herbs you want)

For the parmigiano cream sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/16th tsp ground nutmeg (seems like a small amount, but makes all the difference)
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

  1. To make the gnocchi: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Scrub your potatoes, then pierce them with a fork 2-3 times so the steam can escape. Bake them on a sheet pan for 45 min to an hour, until a fork can easily be inserted. Peel the potatoes while they are hot out of the oven, as they are much easier to peel at this time. To keep yourself from burning your hands, you can hold the potatoes with a towel.
  3. If you have a potato ricer, use that to break down the potatoes. Otherwise, spread the potatoes out on the sheet pan and mash very well with a fork.
  4. Season your mashed potatoes with the salt and mix in the baking powder. Start mixing the flour in with your hands, 1/2 cup at a time. You want to add enough flour so the gnocchi doesn’t fall apart when boiled, but you don’t want to add too much flour or you will lose that potato flavor. The best thing to do is roll a little piece of gnocchi, and test boil it (this part is so fun to watch)! The gnocchi should sink to the bottom, then come up a little…then back down…then up…then down…ALMOST THERE…then down…then it will float up to the top after about a minute and a half. If your gnocchi doesn’t float after that time or if it falls apart/gets fuzzy, it needs more flour.
  5. When your gnocchi dough has the appropriate amount of flour, have a BIG pot of salted boiling water ready to go. Dump your gnocchi dough out onto the counter, sprinkle over your chopped herbs, and knead the dough for two minutes. Divide your dough into four sections, and roll it out into a long rope.
  6. Cut off 1 inch pieces, and either roll them off your grater, or create little grooves on them with a fork. We make these little ridges so the sauce sticks a little better.
  7. Drop your gnocchi into the salted boiling water, and after they float to the top (should take 1-2 minutes), let them cook for 30-60 seconds more. Remove your little potato dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon to drain, and set aside.
  8. For the parmigiano cream sauce: In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, reduce the cream with nutmeg added to it until about 1/4 of it disappears (this should only be a couple minutes). Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in your parmigiano reggiano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the gnocchi.
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