Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Basil Gnocchi

I've been a horrible Food Network Magazine subscriber!
When the Food Network Magazine launched earlier this year, I was really excited so I promptly signed up for a subscription. I received my first issue a few weeks later and drooled over the contents for the next two months. My goal was to create at least one dish from the magazine. Somehow, while I was doing all this drooling, two months passed by and I had made absolutely nothing from the magazine's recipe pages! I then received my second issue of the magazine. Commence drooling again. This time, I was adamant that I had to cook, bake, or assemble something edible from Issue #2.
After taking some time to peruse the magazine's pages, I stumbled on to what I like to call a "shortcut recipe". It's exactly what it sounds like: a recipe with a shortcut. Still, it wasn't the shortcut part that sucked me in. It was the recipe. Basil Gnocchi. It's very difficult for me to go to a restaurant and not order gnocchi if it's on the menu. So of course I couldn't pass up the chance to make this dish at home. And if I needed yet another reason to start firing up the food processor, basil, my favorite herb, also plays a starring role. Need I say more?

Basil Gnocchi (adapted from Ashley's Basil Gnocchi)
Makes 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the gnocchi:
1) Mix the instant potatoes with 1 cup hot water in a bowl using a fork; set aside until the potatoes absorb the liquid, 3 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, puree the basil and 1/4 cup cold water in a blender until smooth. Stir the basil puree, egg, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon salt into the potato mixture.
3) Mound 3/4 cup flour on a surface; add the potato mixture and knead together until smooth, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour.
4) Divide the dough into 3 portions; roll each into a 1-inch-diameter log. Dust with flour, if needed. The dough will feel pretty soft at this point, but that's fine.
5) Cut each log into 1/2-inch pieces; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while making the sauce. (I pressed fork tongs into the gnocchi to make pretty striations, but that's optional.)
6) Once the sauce is created (see below), cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 1 minute after they float to the surface.
7) Drain and toss with the sauce. Top with the toasted pine nuts and more basil and Parmesan.
For the sauce:
1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2) Add the pine nuts; fry until toasted, swirling the pan.
3) Transfer the nuts with a slotted spoon to paper towels and season with salt.
4) Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook until soft, 3 minutes.
5) Add the wine and bring to a boil.
The original recipe actually called for tomatoes as well, but since I am rarely a fan of tomatoes, I nixed them. (Unless of course, the tomatoes are in a grilled cheese sandwich, with extra points if bacon is involved!) The next time I make these and there will be a next time), will definitely add another half cup of basil leaves. I think I would get a bigger punch from this herb and a deeper green color in the gnocchi, which are both very desirable things.
I'm not sure why, but I had a tough time taking a really good picture of the final product. No matter though, because the flavor made up for it. I could smell the earthiness of the basil. The smoothness of the mashed potatoes along with the slightly tart flavor the sauce was most satisfactory. And of course the melted cheese provided it's salty, savory taste. This is a definite thumbs-up meal!

1 comment:

  1. I am SO bookmarking this! it sounds so delicious!