Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gnocchi with Basil Parsley Pesto

Tonight I did double duty for dinner, home made gnocchi and home made pesto, both of these recipes come from one of my favorite food blogs, By pesto of course I mean a variation on the classic version because as usual I bore very easily and I like to change things up every so often. It just so happens I had a bag of russets and a whole lot of basil and parsley that needed to be used so I thought I would dive right in.

This was my second attempt at making gnocchi and my first at pesto (note to self: if the recipes calls for a food processor, don't try to be clever and use a blender.) Anyway, moving forward, the gnocchi is super easy to make so trust me just make a whole bunch and freeze them for later, you will never buy gnocchi again. The pesto turned out to be rather simple to make as well although it was very messy due to my opting to use the blender. Another variation I made to this recipe was to use walnuts instead of pinenuts, a change that was very much appreciated by my boyfriend and myself. Mess aside, the flavor was out of this world.


2 lbs whole baking potatoes
2 beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peirce the potatoes with a fork in several places around each potato to vent moisture as the potatoes cook. Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and bake in their skins until tender, about an hour. Let cool on a rack, cutting them open to help cool and let moisture escape. Scoop out the potatos from their skins. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a large bowl. (If you don't have a potato ricer you can mash the potatoes by hand and fluff them up a bit with a fork.) It is best to work with the potatoes when they are still warm. Add the flour, egg and a pinch of salt. Mix until you have a nice pliable ball of dough. Prepare a work area and dust it with flour. Take the dough, a piece at a time, and roll it out with your hands until you have rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the tubes of dough into pieces about one inch long. Using the tines of a fork, press against a piece of the dough and roll it slightly to form an indentation. As the gnocchi are made, place them on flat baking sheet, lightly dusted with flour. At this point you can freeze the gnocchi ahead of time. Freeze them first on a floured tray, then once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag for easy storage. Bring at least 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Gently drop the gnocchi, a few at a time, into the water. As soon as they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon, draining well. Arrange on a warm serving dish. Continue cooking the gnocchi in the same manner. As soon as all the gnocchi are ready, pour heated pasta sauce over them. Serve immediately.

Basil Parsley Pesto:
1 cup basil, packed
1 cup parsley
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the basil and parsley in a food processor with the nuts, pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated parmesan cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.

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