My sister gave me The Produce Bible for my birthday earlier this month and if you don't have this wonderful cookbook/ reference I suggest you go out and get it! We decided that there is nothing more Italian than gnocchi (even though it may not be Roman, not sure...) For those of you that have never made gnocchi (I'm not going to lie) it's kind of a pain in the you-know-what BUT it is worth it. Trust me!
The key is to follow directions very, very closely. Now, this is not my strength. I am not a good baker because I can never stay the course and measure things perfectly, follow directions, etc. It's just not my personality. I've never been one to follow the rules, let alone recipes, hence why there is little baking on this blog. Long story short, my sister is GREAT at it so we really made a good team and hit this one out of the park. One thing to note: if you try the pasta after you have cooked it plain it tastes very doughy. DON'T lose faith. We almost threw ours out and what a tragedy that would have been. With the cream sauce it will taste awesome. Italy's got nothin' on my me and my sister's gnocchi right now.
Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage
2 pounds floury potatoes
2 egg yolks, lightly beatened
2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp of butter
1/2 pancetta, cubed
8 small sage leaves, chopped
2/3 heavy cream
(We added shallots, more cream, asiago and more Parmesan because we love cheese, butter and cream...)
Prick the potatoes all over, than bake for an hour or until tender. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then peel and mash.
Mix in the egg yolks and cheese (we added Asiago) then gradually stir in flour. When mixture gets too firm, mix with hands. Once loose dough forms, work with hands. Once loose dough forms, transfer to a lightly floured surface (see pic) and kneed gently. Work in extra flour to give a soft dough that is damp to the tough but not sticky (this is key, we added about a cup extra for larger potatoes).
Divide the dough into 6 large potions. Knead dough adding as much flour as needed to rid stickiness. Roll out on floured surface to make a 3/4 rope of dough. Cut rope into 5/8 pieces and press your finger into it to form a conclave shape, then roll the outer surface over the tines of the fork to make deep ridges. Fold the outer lips in toward each other to make a hollow middle. Set aside and continue with remaining dough.
Bring a large pot to boil with salt. Boil gnocchi until they come to top, about 2 minutes. Transfer to baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and fry pancetta. Once browned and perfect, add cream and sage. Reduce for about 5 minutes. Pour on top of gnocchi. Top with bread crumbs and cheese. Bake for 10- 15 minutes or until browned. YUMMY!!!!