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Food & Entertaining

Gnocchi With Pesto Sauce

Author: Chef Allan Schanbacher
Issue: February, 2009, Page 204
Serves 6

Gnocchi
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Pesto Sauce
4½ ounces fresh basil, stems removed
3 cloves garlic
½ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Photo by Werner Segarra
 
1. Steam potatoes for 20 minutes or until very tender. Remove, spread out on a sheet tray and let cool. When just cool, push potatoes through a ricer or fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add the eggs, and scatter the flour and salt over the potatoes and eggs.
2. Using a fork and starting in the center, mix until dough just starts to form. Lightly dust the counter with flour. Place dough on counter and knead until it’s smooth and feels like Play-Doh®.
3. Divide dough into quarters. Take one quarter at a time and roll into a rope that is 1 inch wide and about 2 feet long. Cut into 1-inch-long pieces and dust with flour.
4. To form gnocchi, follow instructions on a gnocchi maker. Place gnocchi on a flour-dusted sheet tray. (Gnocchi can be cooked as is if you don’t have a gnocchi maker. If so, skip the first sentence of Step 4.)
5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Salt to taste and add half of the prepared gnocchi. Boil for 1 minute after they have risen to the top. Remove from water and place in a bowl. Coat the first batch with half of the oil and spread out on a sheet tray to cool. Repeat with the other half. The gnocchi will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days in a sealed container.
6. When ready to eat, place gnocchi in boiling water and cook again for 1 minute after they have risen to the top. Remove and add to a pan with the warm pesto sauce and a couple of splashes of the cooking water. Toss to coat, then top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Pesto Sauce
1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add the basil leaves and cook 30 seconds. Remove and place in an ice bath to shock. When cold, remove the basil and squeeze dry.
2. In a blender, add the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Turn blender on medium speed and with it running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Season to taste and set aside until ready to use. (The pesto will keep covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.)



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