When first I had the opportunity to try a plate of gnocchi, I found it rather puzzling from a culinary point of view. On the one hand, gnocchi is eaten in Italy similarly to pasta, as a first course with some kind of sauce or accompaniment. On the other hand, it is like no pasta I have ever seen or eaten; the gnocchi are basically small bite-sized dumplings, far from what we instinctively imagine when we imagine pasta.
Let me first dispel a common misconception; gnocchi is not a type of pasta. Pasta is usually made with flour, eggs, and water. However, gnocchi is a potato-based dish, combined with a small amount of flour and egg to bind it together. Another interesting facet of gnocchi is that technically, gnocchi is the plural form of gnocco. So, when you eat multiple gnocco, you are eating gnocchi. But it would be incorrect to refer to gnocchi as you would refer to pasta, since the singular and plural forms of the word ‘pasta’ are the same. But I digress.
The word gnocchi probably came either from the Italian word ‘nocchio’, meaning a knot in wood, or nocca, meaning knuckle, and the concept dates all the way back to Roman times. However, it was probably only after potatoes were brought to Europe that they became widely used in the recipe.
There are, however, many different types of gnocchi preparation–often varying by region. For example, depending on where in Italy you are, you could have gnocchi in a cheesy sauce, a simple butter and parmesan dressing, or a tomato sauce.
But what is it like to eat gnocchi, or a single gnocco? A gnocco is a bit chewy, and when I first bit into it I was reminded of mochi, a Japanese rice cake I am very fond of. But the similarity ends there.
When it is made with tomato sauce, as in the following recipe, there is an immediate explosion of flavor. The richness of the piping hot gnocchi combined with the strong flavor of the tomatoes creates a thoroughly satisfying dining experience.
Gnocchi is also a very filling dish due to its being made of potato and flour. It doesn’t require too much to fill you up, so I would encourage you to savor every bite, as I do every time I eat gnocchi.
For the gnocchi
7 Medium Sized Potatoes
2 cups of Flour
For the sauce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 strips Bacon
6 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
1 roughly chopped onion
2 tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups heavy whipping cream
First you're going to want to boil the potatoes, until they are soft and tender. Optionally you could peel the potatoes before, then boil them, however we chose to put them in with the skin. Then you're going to want to peel your potatoes. In our video we used a potato ricer, it's very useful for this gnocchi recipe, however if you do not have a potato ricer, you could just mash it with your hands or anything else you want.
After you've riced (or mashed) the potatoes, add your flour and then add one of your beaten eggs, slowly mix, and then after about a minute, add the other egg. You want to mix it until it becomes a dough, but do not knead it too much and make it too stiff.
Now once it is a dough, cut it into four pieces, and roll them into Snake shaped rolls, that are about 1 inch in thickness.
Now chop into 1 inch pieces.
Finally for the cooking part, add salt to your boiling water, and add your gnocchi in. Make sure to not put too much gnocchi in, so they keep their shape. Boil them until they rise from the bottom to the surface of the pot, that's how you know they are done cooking.
Then drain and keep aside.
To start, lightly coat your pan with olive oil. Then add your bacon and let it slightly caramelize.
Add your chopped garlic and chopped onion, cook until the onion is translucent, but not burnt.
Next, add 1 tin of crushed tomatoes, your paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover for 5-6 minutes, and let cook. The canned tomatoes will start to me much softer.
Add your heavy whipping cream and mix. Finally add some fresh basil. Stir completely, and your sauce is done.
Drizzle the sauce over the gnocchi and enjoy!