Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cheater Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

I had gnocchi in my head for a few days, but no fresh potatoes. Eventually I decided that since I always keep instant potatoes around for when I want a 2-minute lunch (usually when I'm sick), I would use those instead. I suppose I could have gone to the store, but I really, really didn't want to. So, cheater gnocchi it was. This worked out really well, and was substantially less work than making mashed potatoes from fresh, so I'll likely do it this way again. We ate very well. Hope you enjoy!

Gnocchi:

2 cups instant potato flakes
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 - 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons salt

Mix the instant potatoes with the water and salt and let sit for a couple minutes to hydrate (alternately, you can use a pound of fresh potatoes, which should make roughly the same amount). Let them cool until they're easy to handle with bare hands, then knead in the egg and enough flour to make a smooth dough. Knead the dough until it's not very sticky and is supple. Cut the dough into four pieces, and roll each piece out into a long strip about 1" in diameter. Cut into 3/4" pieces, and roll along the backside of a fork (flour the fork to prevent sticking). Put the pieces on a sheet pan while you roll them all out.

Boil a pot of salted water. When boiling, drop gnocchi into the water (do not overcrowd your pot, and make sure you stir them once each batch of 10-15 is in the pot) and let boil for 2-3 minutes. They will float when they're done, but I like to cook them an extra minute or so. Remove each batch of gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in a strainer to wait while you finish the rest. Once done cooking all of them, drain the water out of the pot and return the gnocchi to it. Add the tomato sauce, stir well and let sit over the heat for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serves 2-4 people.

Tomato Sauce:

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 small onion, sliced into half moons
4-5 button mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a meyer lemon
8 ounces some kind of liquid (I had no wine like I wanted to use, so I went with beer instead)
salt to taste
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon each: marjoram, basil

Put the onion, mushrooms, oil, lemon and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions and mushrooms are soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick.

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