Pork-Free Post: Gluten-Free Gnocchi

23 May

Our latest CSA boxes have been a thing of beauty, filled with amazingly fresh and fabulous vegetables. This week we received more fava beans, something that I’ve eaten, but hadn’t really cooked too much. Despite being quite labor intensive, I’ve taken a liking to these guys. In fact, I discovered that the best way to get through shelling a huge bags worth is to watch an always exciting SF Giants game. Shelling and cheering, shelling and cheering. I sorta forgot what I was doing for a while.

I haven’t had gnocchi in years, and I have been so darn scared to try making them on my own, gluten-free. But as I’m becoming more comfortable with alternative flours, I thought I’d give it a go. I had the time……and some potatoes that desperately needed to be used. They’ve been staring at me in the kitchen with sad eyes for some time now.

I scoured the internet for some inspiration and found one from the SF Examiner that seemed to fit the bill.  I had all the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a go. Oh, with one exception – no xantham gum. I really don’t understand the whole idea that it is necessary in all GF recipes. Never once have I bought it, yet all my cakes, brownies, cookies, pancakes, etc. seem to turn out just fine with me and everyone else who tastes them. In fact, I was really excited when I saw Shauna from Gluten-Free Girl post up on Facebook the other day how it is totally unnecessary. While home alone this week I made the whole grain muffins from her site and they were fantastic.  My version used quinoa flour, oat flour, potato starch, rice flour, raisins, walnuts and dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Super tasty way to start the day.

Anyway, back to the gnocchi. Working with this dough was so easy. No problems with the dough breaking apart or sticking. Having never made gnocchi, I don’t know if I formed them correctly, but in the end, I don’t care because they tasted darn good! I asked Christian if they were close to real gnocchi and the answer was a firm “yes” – not only did they taste like real gnocchi, but the had the same texture as real gnocchi. I was incredibly happy that these were successful.

Foraging through my refrigerator that is overflowing with veggies, I decided that the gnocchi would be a great accompaniment to the fava beans, and that throwing in a little green garlic wouldn’t hurt. I love that stuff. To finish it off, I punched it up with some smoked salmon and a sauce with fresh thyme, white wine, butter and a touch of cream. Instead of just simply boiling the gnocchi and calling it a day, I decided to add another step and brown them in some butter, making the outside a little crispy. Uh, yeah, this was good. Really good.

I’m not including the whole recipe with the veggies and sauce since I kind of threw it together with no measurements. So below is a simple recipe for the gnocchi. The recipe serves about 3 people for a main course, probably about 6 for a smaller first course.

I also want to mention that my Recipes That Don’t Include Pork Shoulder section has been updated recently with more dishes, including some super gooey chocolaty brownies (gluten-free, of course) that are a must try. The boys at a recent poker night ate them right up.

Gluten-Free Gnocchi

  • 1 lb potatoes (I used a small white potato, but russets or other will do)
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and when oven is ready, place them directly on the rack and roast until soft (poke a knife through and if it goes through easily, they are done). Let cool until they can be handled. Cut each in half and scoop out the potato into a bowl, discarding the skins.

Mix the flour and starches in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix the potato, salt and egg together. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing between additions. Keep adding until the dough holds together but is not sticky. You probably will not use all the flour, which should be reserved for dusting the work surface.

Sprinkle a wooden cutting board or other work surface with flour. Divide the dough into several rounds. Roll each round on the surface into ropes about 1″ wide, then cut into 1″ long pieces. Set aside and repeat with remaining dough. Using a fork, press each gnocchi piece onto the tines with your thumb – one side will have the tine marks, the other an indention from your thumb.

Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with some flour mixture; let dry for about 15 minutes. If you are cooking right away, drop the gnocchi in salted water. Once they rise to the surface (which happens very quickly), continue cooking for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Remove and toss with some olive oil to prevent sticking. You may have to do this in batches.

You can also freeze the uncooked gnocchi – wrap tightly in foil to prevent freezer burn. When you want to eat them, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling water – cooking time will be slightly longer than if fresh. Additionally, you can also freeze the boiled gnocchi (which I did, and they turned out just fine). Again, just throw into boiling water, or alternately, let defrost and brown in a pan with oil or butter.

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