Before watching Giada’s show on the Food Network a couple of years ago, I had never known what gnocchi was and even after finding out what it is, I’d still never tried it. Yes, I’ve seen it on menus but for some reason, I was never drawn to ordering it at a restaurant – and I’d never even considered buying it at the grocery store. Once again, the ladies on my cooking board inspired me to try a new dish at home. They’d said that homemade gnocchi is much better than what you’ll find in the frozen section of the grocery store and for that reason, I decided to attempt both making it and tasting it for the first time this past weekend. How’s that for jumping in with both feet?
I found a recipe for homemade gnocchi in Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook – Gnocchi with Thyme Butter Sauce – and decided that it looked easy enough to make and the sauce sounded great too so…why not? In all honesty, the recipe really WAS simple and I surprised myself with how easily and quickly it came together. From start to finish, this recipe took 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Overall, both Kyle and I really enjoyed this but felt that the dish needed a little more “umph.” The sauce was just butter and fresh thyme but next time I make it, I think I’ll saute some garlic in the butter as well. I’m not sure if the gnocchi themselves were what Kyle and I had expected but I told him to expect something similar to pierogis (which he LOVES) and I think my estimate was pretty close.
Being so easy to make, these are something I will definitely try again – and work on a variety of sauces for them as well. It might be nice to cut the recipe down by a couple of servings and serve it as a side dish with a light fish or with some grilled shrimp.
**Note: This recipe differs between FN.com and Giada’s cookbook. I used the cookbook version, which is posted below. Some of the reviews of the recipe on FN.com say that the gnocchi fell apart and were just like mashed potatoes and I think there are mistakes in the FN.com version of the recipe. I had NO trouble at all with the gnocchi – and I had no idea what to expect while making and eating them for the first time. For the sake of reducing confusion, I am not linking this post the recipe on FN.com.
Gnocchi with Thyme Butter Sauce
2 russet potatoes (about 12oz each)*
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano, for garnish*
Thyme Butter Sauce:
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the gnocchi, pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Microwaved the pototoes on high until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. (You can also bake the potatoes at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until tender.) Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Stir in the egg, salt and pepper. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and stir just until blended.
Scoop out a large spoonful of gnocchi dough. Roll each scoop on the work surface into a 1/2-inch-diameter rope. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough. Set the formed gnocchi on a baking sheet while you form the rest of the dough.
To make the thyme butter sauce, melt the butter with the thyme leaves in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes.
Working in two batches, cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water until they have all risen to the surface, about 3 minutes. Scoop out the gnocchi into a colander with a slotted spoon, while you cook the second batch. Reheat the thyme butter sauce over low heat. Transfer the cooked gnocchi to the skillet with the hot thyme butter and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss again.
Spoon the gnocchi and butter sauce into shallow bowls. Top with the Pecorino and serve.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
I used 2 large Idaho potatoes and cooked them for 60 minutes at 375 degrees in the oven.
The shaved cheese on top of the gnocchi really made this dish. I shaved Parmesan rather than Pecorino Romano and it was just delish!