The recipe for these Passover gnocchi has been sitting in my hard drive since last year. No mention of the source – so if anyone recognizes it, please let me know, and I’ll happily acknowledge.
I must say that the texture of these gnocchi is somewhat mealier than the usual, but that didn’t bother my family, who liked them very much indeed. The Little One couldn’t get enough, as a matter of fact. I’m definitely planning to serve them again during the holiday.
Gnocchi are usually served with pesto, marinara sauce, or just plenty of butter and grated cheese. I love all of those, but as the dish accompanied a meat dinner for Shabbat, I had to improvise something else. There were mushrooms, herbs, a few slow-roasted tomatoes, and chicken soup on hand. The sauce that resulted was pretty good. Recipe follows after the gnocchi.
3 medium potatoes
1/3 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper or about 5 twists of the pepper grinder
5 tsp. olive oil
1. Wash the potatoes and pare away anything you don’t like, but don’t peel them.
2. Boil, whole, or cut in half, till they’re tender.
3. Drain the potatoes and, keeping them in their cooking pot, shake them over a low flame till they are very dry.
4. Allow them to cool slightly, and peel them as soon as you can handle them. The hotter they are at this stage, the better. I put on latex gloves to pick them up and peel.
5. Mash the potatoes. Make a well in the center and add the rest of the ingredients.
Get in there with your hands, mixing and kneading till you have a cohesive dough. You shouldn’t need to add any more matzah meal or starch; just keep working at it and in a few minutes the dough will solidify.
6. Cover the dough and let it mature for at least half an hour, in the fridge. I left mine out about an hour at room temperature, and it appeared to have fermented slightly – not surprising, given that potato and flour together ferment like crazy. I’m noting this because it’s probably a Pesach no-no, similar to sourdough. So keep your dough in the fridge and go on to the next step.
7. Cut the dough into four pieces.
8. On a flat surface well dusted with potato starch, roll each piece out into a snake about 3/4 of an inch thick.
9. Start plenty of salted water boiling in a large pot.
10. Cut out pieces about 1/2 inch long. I used a dessert fork to do this, and imprinted each piece with the tines as I cut along. The reason gnocchi have these impressions is to allow the accompanying sauce to cling to them all the better. It takes only a few minutes to get the hang of it; then the work goes quickly.
11. Boil the gnocchi, giving them one more minute after all have risen to the water’s surface. The whole thing takes only 2-3 minutes.
12. Drain the gnocchi, and if not dressing them with sauce right away, drizzle them with olive oil (or melted butter, for a dairy meal) and push them around gently with a wooden spoon to get coated with it.
I confess: my favorite dressing is plain butter and lots of grated Parmesan cheese. But as I said, I needed a meat-based sauce for Shabbat, so this is what I did.
Herb and Mushroom Sauce for Passover Gnocchi (Meat)
Olive oil for frying
3 large shallots, diced
3 or 4 halves of fresh, ripe tomatoes or the same of slow-roasted
2 peeled and minced garlic cloves
1 small basketful of champignon mushrooms, clean and sliced in thirds
1/2 Tblsp. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. matzah cake meal
1 cup chicken soup
A few tablespoons white wine (or more soup)
In a large skillet, sautee the shallots and tomatoes.
When the vegetables are soft, add the sliced mushrooms and the garlic.
Stir-fry for a few minutes, till the mushrooms are tender.
Add the sage and the salt & pepper; stir and allow to heat through.
Clear a space in the middle of the skillet. Pour the matzah meal into it. Stir to heat through.
Add the soup. Stir diligently to distribute everything. Once the sauce is formed, add the wine and taste for seasoning again. If it seems to be drying out, add more soup.
Pour over the gnocchi and serve right away.