Ettie's Eats: Gnocchi in Tomato Broth
Fill up on weekly kitchen experiments, recipes and local cooking tips from our assistant editor, Ettie Berneking.
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I’ve long wanted to try my hand at gnocchi, but I’ve always shied away. The idea of making a potato pasta from scratch sounded too time consuming and well beyond my limited skills in the kitchen. But after reading through Deb Perelman’s gnocchi recipe in her book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I decided to at least attempt a batch of gnocchi. I figured that if the pasta didn’t turn out right, I could flatten them down and flash fry them to create savory pancakes.
Happily, I didn’t need to abandon the gnocchi project, and these starchy dumplings turned out perfect. To my surprise, the hardest part about this dish was making the tomato broth. Trying to get all that rich broth through the mesh sieve took some muscle, but it was delicious. It was plenty savory, but it was also light in body and didn’t overpower the pillow-y gnocchi. I’m a huge fan of garlic, so I tossed in two extra cloves, but you can use just two cloves if you wish. I also decided to save the cooked-down vegetable hash that was left over from the broth and have added the stew-like veggies to polenta with great success. My guess is you could also puree the left over vegetables and add them to soup for extra flavor. But I’ll leave the real experimentation to seasoned cooks.
Besides the terrific flavor and texture of this dish, my favorite part is that it yields nearly 100 gnocchi, which is plenty to feed four people and still have left over dumplings to munch on tomorrow. According to Perelman, if you don’t need to make four servings, you can cut the gnocchi and freeze them on parchment paper until you’re ready to enjoy another gnocchi-filled meal. Shockingly simple and seriously delicious… yes please.
Recipe for Gnocchi
in Tomato Broth
Adapted from Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
For the broth:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ cup white wine
32 ounces canned chopped tomatoes with the juice
small handful of fresh basil leaves
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
For the gnocchi:
2 pounds Russet potatoes (3–4)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cup flour
To Prepare the Gnocchi:
- Preheat oven to 400°F, and bake the potatoes until a knife can easily pierce through them (about 45 minutes.)
- While the potatoes are cooking, start the tomato broth. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the carrots, celery and onion, and cook for five minutes or until the onions are translucent and aromatic. Reduce the heat if the vegetables start to brown too much.
- Add in the garlic, and cook for another minute or two.
- Pour in the wine, cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Add the tomatoes, basil and chicken stock, simmer for 45 minutes.
- Once done cooking, strain the vegetables through a fine-mesh colander, collecting the broth in a bowl. (You might have to apply pressure to the vegetables in order to get all the broth out.)
- Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
- Now that the potatoes are done cooking, let them rest until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the potatoes, then run them through a potato ricer. (You can also mash them with a fork or grate them over the large holes on a box grater.)
- Allow the potatoes to cool again for 10 minutes or so. They should be lukewarm at this point.
- Add the egg and salt, mixing to combine.
- Add the flour ½ cup at a time until a dough forms. If the dough still sticks to your hands, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for just a minute.
- Divide the dough into quarters, then roll each quarter into a long rope that’s about ¾ inch thick.
- Cut the rope into one-inch sections, forming the gnocchi.
- A quarter-batch at a time, drop the gnocchi into a pot of boiling water, and let them cook until they float, about three minutes. (If you want the gnocchi to be a little firmer, let them cook for an extra minute or two.)
- Serve the broth (reheated) and the gnocchi, garnished with a sprinkling of basil, some crushed black pepper, sea salt and grated Parmesan.