Gnocchi (pronounced nyoh-kee) has always been one of my favorite pastas. The little potato pillow puffs as backdrop for a dense and flavorful sauce can be the most delicious indulgence. The downside to gnocchi is when they're not good, when they are gummy and heavy, it's the worst!!!
Some years ago, I asked my dad for his recipe - he gave me two versions which I never made. Silly me! But I recently took it on and the results were perfection.
I wanted to pair them with a really good sauce. Since I was on a potato path, I continued the theme with a vodka sauce! I thought this would be a more difficult sauce to master but I was wrong. Once again, my father gave me the info for an easy and fresh vodka sauce.
Here's how to make it:
• 1-1/2 lb potatoes
• 2 cups flour
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 tsp salt
The Vodka Sauce:
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1/2 cup vodka
• 1 28-oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
• 1 cup heavy cream
• salt & pepper to taste
• red chili pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1) Wash the potatoes. Boil them in salted water until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
2) While they cook, in a saucepan, melt the butter. Sauté the onions until translucent then pour in the vodka. Let that cook down for about 10 minutes then add the tomatoes. After 10 minutes more, add the heavy cream with salt, pepper (and red pepper if you like). Let simmer.
3) When the potatoes are done, take a paper towel and rub the skin off. Place in a bowl and mash. Let them get to room temperature. Add the flour and combine. Add the egg and mix into a dough.
4) Divide the dough into fourths. On a floured surface, start to roll out a piece of the dough with your hands until it forms a rope about 1” thick. Cut it into about 1” pieces. Repeat with all the dough.
5) Add the gnocchi to a pot of boiled salted water. They’ll sink to the bottom. In about 3 minutes, they’ll rise to the top - they’re done!
6) Plate them and ladle on the vodka sauce.
Garnish with your favorite grated cheese, parsley, or basil - or just dig in! The gnocchi is light and airy, the sauce is a perfect compliment. This is almost the recipe you should never have - it's too easy to make so you'll want to do it often! You'll never have store bought gnocchi or vodka sauce again.
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