I've made my own pasta a few times before (remember the acorn squash ravioli and ricotta tortellini?) and remembered what a time commitment it was. Between making the dough, rolling it out, forming the pasta and letting it dry, the only time I was saving was for the fact that homemade pasta takes almost no time to cook. When I arrived home (on a late train, of course), I wasn't really keen on eating at ten o'clock at night. I really wanted to eat post haste!
This is where the microwave came into play. Did you know you can microwave a potato, assuming you have poked enough holes in it, and it will cook in only twelve minutes? If you neglect to poke holes in the potatoes, you'll have the joy of watching a potato explode violently in your microwave. Take your pick, both are excellent ways to use a potato.
Once the potatoes were cooked through (and not exploded, thank you very much) I just had to let them sit for a moment. It was at this point that I put together the sauce for my eventual gnocchi dinner. It was simple, get this... Melt butter and thyme together. Keep warm. Fin.
The assembly of the gnocchi was the part that took the longest and mostly because no one wanted to help me roll out the dough. Someone was busy making a Hot dog film. Don't ask. After combining all of the ingredients and giving them a quick knead with my two hands, the dough was ready.
Working in three batches, I rolled the dough out into a long rope. The rope was then chopped into 1-inch segments and each piece was rolled over the tines of a fork. If you have a helper in the kitchen, you could probably get this done in half the time.
But there we are, the little potato pillows were ready to go into the boiling water. How long do they take to cook? About three minutes. More precisely? Once these little guys float to the top, they are ready for consuming. I slowly added the gnocchi to the water, one at a time and they slowly floated up to the surface one at a time. The finished ones were scooped out with a slotted spoon and set to drain for a minute in my colander.
When the final gnocchi was rescued from the boiling water, they all went into the pan with the thyme butter and were ready to go. From potato to plate in thirty minutes flat.
How do these little guys compare to those vacuum-sealed store-bought packages of gnocchi? No question, the homemade version trumps the premade ones. You've got flavor for miles with your own handmade ones. The texture of a freshly prepared gnocchi is out of this world. The variety of potato pasta is endless, just think of all of the things you can add to the pasta dough!
Hold yourself back from buying gnocchi in the store and make it a fun event with your little ones. They'll really enjoy rolling out the dough and making the gnocchi shapes! I know I did and I'm thirty years old!
One Year Ago: Pomegranate Moon Pies
Potato Gnocchi with a Thyme-butter Sauce
Adapted from Everyday Pasta
Imagine the possibilites for these little potato clouds. Gluten-free diet? Replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite, rice, buckwheat, oat. Ooo, those sound pretty good... Add your favorite herbs and spices directly to the pasta itself for flavored varieties.
3 medium Russet potatoes
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh thyme
shredded parmesan cheese
Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave for 12 minutes, turning over at the halfway mark. Open the microwave door and let potatoes cool for 5-10 minutes.
In a small saute pan, melt butter with thyme. Reduce heat to low and keep warm while you prepare the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. This will heat to boiling while you are preparing the pasta.
Cut each potato in half and scoop out the potato insides. Place all of the potato in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Add egg, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir together. When you can't get any more flour into the dough, turn the dough out onto your countertop. Knead once or twice with your hands.
Cut the dough ball into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. To finish the look of the gnocchi, roll each piece over the tines of a fork. This will give each piece little ridges that puff up when cooking. Place the finished gnocchi on a baking sheet.
Slowly add the gnocchi to the boiling water. You should be able to add all of them to the water before the first one pops up to the surface. Once the little guys start to float, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Move cooked pasta to a colander and let drain for a few minutes.
Add all of the gnocchi to the pan with your butter and thyme. Toss to coat and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.