What do you do if your making homemade gnocchi and you do not have a potato ricer? Simple, you mash with a potato masher!
I have been wanting to make my own homemade gnocchi for quite some time now and the smell of the fresh sweet basil in my backyard along with two potatoes and some fresh summer squash that needed to be used all left me with only one thing to do- Make Gnocchi. Yes, I realize that might not have been the first thing you thought of. Most do not associate basil and squash with gnocchi but you see in my mind I was envisioning a delicious fresh pesto sauce along with sauteed buttered squash medallions all atop of homemade gnocchi. Makes sense now right?
If you have never made homemade pasta before please do not back away from this computer screen in dismay. Making gnocchi does not require all the fancy pasta dough equipment nor time that you hear about in magazines and other food blogs. Gnocchi is simple and actually fun. All you have to do is pretend your making mashed potatoes then add in some flour and egg. Roll it out into little strips and start snipping away! Couldn’t be easier. I even made mine a whole 2 hours ahead of time and left them in the refrigerator until it was time to boil. Such a great elegant way to present pasta.
I saw a post on making pesto the way an Italian granmother would make it and let me tell you! I am no Italian grandmother! All the power to them because according to the directions you had to sit there and smash and chop and mince and chop the basil and garlic together then add in the pine nuts (do we all know how had it is to chop pine nuts-exactly) and then repeat the steps over and over until you have a nice little pile of basil soap so to speak. It is crazy! I am positive it would have been the best pesto I have ever had but seriously who has that kind of time? Especially when you have a trusty old food processor lying around- can I get an Amen? I know the Italian grandmothers might not approve but this pesto recipe is just simply amazing and simple and so easy to make- just hit the pulse button!
Gnocchi with Pesto and Summer Squash
Pesto Sauce: Pulse all ingredients in a food processor, slowly drizzling in the olive oil.
1 large bunch of basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
Devo olive oil
For the Gnocchi: (adapted from Italian Dish)
2 medium sized russet potatoes, cleaned
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cup of AP flour
1 large squash, sliced into medallions
Bake potatoes in oven until tender. Let cool just until you can skin them, right before you make the gnocchi. The potato needs to be warm, or else the gnocchi will not turn out right – the flour and potato will not bind with the egg.
Scoop out potato flesh and put through ricer into a bowl. Add slightly beaten egg yolks. incorporate about 1.5 cups of the flour and mix until a dough is formed. Place on counter. Using some of the rest of the flour, knead lightly until you have a nice dough formed, one that is not too sticky but yet is not super firm. If you feel you have obtained the right texture for the dough, do not continue to use all the flour.
Cut the dough into three sections with a pastry scraper. Roll out the sections into cords and then, with the pastry scraper, cut the cords into one inch little gnocchi. Set gnocchi on a lightly floured towel until ready to use. Bring a large pot of salt water to a rolling boil and place the gnocchi in batches in the water. Boil until the gnocchi floats to the top then wait another minute before you scoop them out. Meanwhile, saute the squash in the olive oil and butter for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then add in 3 TBSP of the pesto. Saute for another 3-5 minutes and toss in the gnocchi and 5-6 TBSP of pesto- You can do more or less here depending on your pesto flavor preference.