Sunday Supper: Summer Vegetable Gnocchi

September 9, 2012

Summer Gnocchi

While I made this meal over a month ago, I’m thinking my final fling with summer might have to be a repeat of the entire thing, beginning to end. Either way, I know the final bits of squash my garden yields would be well-served in this amazing gnocchi recipe that lets each ingredient shine, feeling light but oh-so-decadent at the same time.

The ingredients are simple – gnocchi, butter, squash & zucchini, a bit of corn, garlic, and goat cheese. However, the idea of making gnocchi was a bit daunting for me, as it is one of my favorite pastas, yet dough is one of my greatest enemies. The first time I attempted gnocchi they sunk like the Titanic to the bottom of the pot of boiling water, refusing to pop back up. So I decided I would try, try again, this time with a different recipe in hand.

I’m so glad I did! While puffy little pillows of gnocchi aren’t exactly friendly to the cook trying to save time, they weren’t hard to make, and the texture and flavor beats he packaged stuff hands down, no contest! They came out perfectly fluffy, light on the palette, almost instantaneously melting away.

Summer Vegetable Gnocchi
Serves 3

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, minced
Squeeze of lemon
1 1/2 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Wash each potato, and poke each with a fork. Place on a baking sheet on the center rack in the oven, and cook until potatoes are baked, about 40 minutes, flipping half-way through cooking. A skewer should be able to glide easily through the potato once baked. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

Peel or scoop out the flesh of each potato and place in a ricer or food mill. Gently spread the riced potato into an even layer and let cool for 5 minutes. Note: You can do this the evening before or early in the morning and cover with a tea towel until you are ready to make the dough.

Spread 16 ounces of the potato onto a large dough mat or cutting board, as well as flour, leaving a well in the center. Pour the egg in the well, and using a fork, begin to combine the flour, potato, and egg until no pockets of dry flour remains. Gently knead until smooth but slightly sticky, about 1 minute, lightly dusting the mat or board with flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Line 1 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and liberally dust with flour. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Lightly dust your work area with flour. Gently roll 1 of the 8 pieces of dough into 1/2-inch thick rope. Cut rope into 3/4 inch pieces, and roll on a fork to create a ridged surface. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheet, leaving space between each so they don’t form a big gnocchi lump! If your first baking sheet becomes too full of gnocchi, you can either pull out a second sheet, or just top the first layer with more parchment/more dusting of flour. Repeat this process with all of the pieces of dough.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a pot. Meanwhile…

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large, flat-sided saute pan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it begins to bubble and turn light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash, corn, and garlic and saute until warmed through, 3 – 4 minutes.

As soon as you’ve got the vegetables in the skillet, go back to your boiling pot of water, and add a liberal amount of salt to the water. Add the gnocchi and let them cook, about 1.5 – 2 minutes. When the gnocchi are done they will float to the surface. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and place into serving bowl(s).

Back at the melted butter skillet, turn off heat and pour the vegetables and butter over the cooked gnocchi. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with small hunks of goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Gently stir to combine, and serve immediately!

Wine pairing:
We served this gnocchi with Testarossa’s 2010 Fogstone Vineyard Chardonnay, and the pairing was out — of — this — world! It was like these two were made to go together. The pasta brought out a subtle green, grassy flavor that was otherwise not tasted in the wine, and the hints of lemon and creamy feel of the wine paired perfectly with the gnocchi, making this one of the most memorable wine pairings we’ve had yet. We’ll have to have another bottle of this when we make this recipe again.

Testarossa Fogstone Chardonnay

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