Chez Bettay Vegan Gnocchi
My first gnocchi was served to me at Hoku's in Kahala, Hawaii. The handmade treasures were heavenly pillows for the tongue. I immediately started researching the process of creating my own vegan gnocchi recipe and realized that baked potatoes, flour and salt is the simple basis for gnocchi. I thought, "That can't be hard too duplicate." Now, after several attempts, I'm ready to share a simple vegan gnocchi recipe.
I hear "gnocchi" pronounced differently by everyone and thought you might like to know the correct way to order or talk about gnocchi with friends...
Learn How to Pronounce, "GNOCCHI"
Yield: 76 gnocchi bites
2 large russet potatoes, baked
3/4 cup organic unbleached white flour
3/4 cup organic spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
optional ingredients for a flavored batch of gnocchi
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
gnocchi board or large tined fork
cutting board or tray for finished gnocchi
freezer storage bags
The Potato Bake
After using several types of potatoes, I find that the RUSSET is the potato of choice for a creamy rich gnocchi. To further enhance the gnocchi dough, I find that baking the potatoes produces a richer dough vs boiling. After all, they are going to be cooked in water, so I don't want water added at the beginning of the process. I hate soft doughy lumps of anything, especially gnocchi.
Bake the potatoes in a 375 degree F oven for approximately 1 hour or until a sharp pointed knife slips easily into the potato flesh… don't under cook and don't overcook the russets!
Rice the Baked Potatoes
Cut each baked potato in half.
Place each half with the cut side down, into the ricer and press the hot velvety potato through the sieve into a large bowl.
Continue till all four halves are riced into a large bowl.
The Sea Salt and Olive Oil
Add the sea salt and then drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the warm riced potatoes and stir gently.
The Gnocchi Dough
This is where you have to give yourself freedom to FEEL the DOUGH! If the riced potatoes are wetter than mine, they my take more flour. And if they are dryer, they will require less flour. But you are only going to know this by the FEEL of the dough as you begin to mix the flour into the warm riced potatoes.
Sprinkle half of the unbleached and spelt flour into the warm riced potatoes and stir… now sprinkle the remainder into the bowl and use your hands to knead the mixture together. The steaminess of the riced potatoes will help the flours to mix easily into a rich smooth gnocchi dough.
Form a ball in the bowl and knead for at least five minutes on an un-floured countertop and begin kneading the dough until it is as smooth as a baby's bottom or like Play-doh! Remember, this is about feeling the dough texture!
Once the dough is silky smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes.
The Gnocchi Snake
Cut the gnocchi dough ball into four equal pieces and put all but one back into the bowl and cover.
Roll the first piece of dough into a long snake like you did in kindergarten.
Do this to all four pieces and place them side-by-side.
Use the pastry scraper and cut the snakes into small equal bites… 3/4" or 1".
Make some notes to yourself about the size so you can alter it the next time.
HINT: I've been to restaurants that serve huge gnocchi chunks, but I prefer smaller sized gnocchi. Consider making two sizes with this recipe and experiment… half larger, half smaller.
The Gnocchi Form
Roll each bite into a ball quickly and then gently press each ball into a gnocchi board or the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.
Place the finished gnocchi onto a parchment paper covered cutting board and set aside.
Repeat this step till all the gnocchi bites are finished.
The Gnocchi Freeze
I don't usually cook my gnocchi on the same day that I create them, so I place them on a cutting board and freeze them. Then I bag them up and have two meals ready from this one recipe.
The Gnocchi Boil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of sea salt added.
I add half of my frozen gnocchi to the boiling water and give them a gentle stir to keep them from sticking to the bottom.
I watch them and once they are ALL floating at the top, I use a slotted spoon and scoop them out of the boiling water into a warming non-stick fry pan with 1 tablespoon of organic extra virgin olive oil.
The Gnocchi Fry
I love gnocchi that are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. To get this result, I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the fry pan and begin warming it over medium heat when I see the first gnocchi float to the top of the boiling water.
HINT: Be very careful when you put the gnocchi into the oil because the water will spritz in the hot oil and can burn your hand.
I do the "chef jerk" of the pan once they are all in the oil and this coats their entire exteriors with the oil.
Now, leave the pan on medium heat and leave them ALONE… for at least three minutes.
"Chef Jerk" the pan again and use a fork or tongs and make sure each individual gnocchi is sitting on another side and repeat till all sides are golden brown from the heat and oil.
Serve immediately with your favorite Italian sauce and enjoy!
HINT: When entertaining, it's easy to reheat vegan gnocchi in the same pan over medium to low heat… it even makes them crunchier on the outside and they hold up better with any type of sauce. This also makes entertaining easier because all the work is done. A simple reheat and you're out of the kitchen enjoying your friends.
Gnocchi may be served with any type of sauce your family enjoys. White, red, meatless-sausage, etc. Personally, I enjoy a chunky red sauce with crumbles of Field Roast Italian Sausage and a nice green salad served with a simple vinaigrette.
Store Bought Frozen Gnocchi
Rising Moon Frozen Gnocchi
Rising Moon Oranic Garlic and Basil Gnocchi is VEGAN and can be found in the frozen food section of most health food markets. The container is only 8 ounces and feeds two. The cost is $$.
Water, Organic Potato, Organic Unbleached Flour, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Basil, Organic Parsley. Contains Wheat.
Serving Size: 1/2 cup (113g)
Serving Per Container: 2
Rising Moon Frozen Gnocchi Cooking Instructions
Never cook gnocchi in rapidly boiling water.
Always bring water to boil first.
Lower heat and gently add frozen gnocchi.
Boil, stirring occasionally, until they are "pillowy" and float to the top... 3 to 5 minutes.
DO NOT OVERCOOK!
Skim from water with a strainer spoon.
Gently toss with extra virgin olive oil.
May be pan fried for crunchy exterior or covered with a simple white or red sauce.
Field Roast Italian Sausage Red Sauce for Pasta
Vegan Tools: Potato Ricer
Vegan Tools: Gnocchi Board