I have been in love with gnocchi ever since my family went to Italy when I was 16. These little potato dumplings can hold up to many different kinds of sauces, and I ate them at least once a week when I studied in Bologna.
My mom made this particular recipe when I was home for Thanksgiving, and it was so delicious I had to make it again with Ari. It is a really great recipe to make with someone else, since one person can make the gnocchi and the other can make the sauce. You can also use store bought gnocchi, but I swear making them by hand isn't that hard or time consuming, and is really worth the effort. They practically melt in your mouth.
Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce (adapted from Bon Appétit, serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (2 large)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
7 (or more) tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
6 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
3 cups coarsely chopped arugula or spinach
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Bake the potatoes, pierced with a fork, at 450 degrees for about an hour. When finished, mash and mix with egg and spices. Add the flour and mix until firm but elastic, adding more flour as needed. Divide dough into four portions. Roll out one portion on a floured surface into a long tube, about one inch thick, then cut into 1 inch pieces. Roll each piece off of the tines of a fork to get a ridged effect. (This takes a little practice) Place gnocchi on a flour covered baking sheet. Repeat with other three portions. Cook for 3-4 minutes in a pot of boiling salted water.
Meanwhile, sauté the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for two minutes. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté for ten minutes. Add the stock and sage and simmer for eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add the cooked gnocchi and simmer for another minute. Add the arugula or spinach and stir until wilted. Top with cheese.
We accompanied this with a really lovely 2005 Masi Campfiorin, from Verona. It was a birthday gift from my housemates, and was a perfect compliment to the gnocchi. I am a little biased towards Italian wines, but this one was full and smooth, with a wonderful taste in the mouth.