Throw away all of your partially finished adult colouring books - I have the answer to your search for the ultimate zen activity!
Okay, yes, it’s probably VERY generous to say “partially finished” since if you’re anything like me you probably have 4 adult colouring books in your possession, all of them with a total of 3 completed pages and no intention of ever resuming your work on all of those infuriatingly intricate mandalas. But fear not, for a far more meditative experience has emerged. And this one culminates in you eating your work instead of being slightly embarrassed that you just spent 4 hours colouring an ocean scene that somehow STILL has like 50 tropical fish that need to be shaded. Plus there’s something so soothing and nostalgic about rolling out a thick rope of dough. Like a slightly more refined version of making play dough snakes, but with a wayyyyy better pay-off at the end.
As if reaching new heights of introspection weren’t enough, these gnocchi freeze beautifully too. The key is to let them air-dry (uncooked) on a floured, lined baking sheet for 2-4 hours before freezing them. This ensures that the gnocchi form a skin, which stops them from breaking apart in boiling water. Once the air-drying is done, pop the tray in the freezer for an hour, then transfer the frozen gnocchi into a couple of freezer bags. How happy is future-you going to be when you pull a bag of homemade frozen gnocchi out of the freezer on a random Tuesday and eat a killer weekday meal without any stressful weekday prep? SO HAPPY. Future-you is really going to owe you big time for that one. Maybe you can remember that the next time you consider holding back on opening that second bottle of wine…future-you does owe you one for all that gnocchi-making…
BA’s Best: Gnocchi with Sage and Butter
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
*If you didn’t read through the other pan-fried gnocchi recipe, you might have missed my spiel about the importance of owning a potato ricer or food mill. I’ll save you the trouble of reading it by saying that BOTH gnocchi recipes are entirely dependent on this piece of equipment. If you don’t have access to either (and don’t want to buy one even though I promise you you’ll be so happy you did once mashed potatoes season rolls around), then it might be worth MacGyver-ing something that can closely imitate the texture of a riced potato. Simply mashing the potatoes is NOT going to give you the consistency that you need to have for light, pillowy gnocchi.
2 ½ lb Russet potatoes (about 4 large), scrubbed
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly) + more for dusting
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, room temperature
2 oz (roughly 1 ½ cups) finely grated parmesan + more for serving
24 sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper, to serve
Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling water over medium-high heat until tender when pierced with a knife. Depending on the size of your potatoes, this will take anywhere from 40-60 minutes. Avoid overcooking the potatoes, or your gnocchi will be overly gummy. They should not be falling apart.
Once the potatoes are just cool enough to handle (not too long!), peel them and pass through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle the flour and salt over the potatoes, then make a well in the centre with your hands. Pour the beaten egg into the well and stir into the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until the dough is smooth (see Pan-Fried Gnocchi recipe for more detail regarding what constitutes gentle kneading). Dust dough lightly with flour as needed to avoid sticking. Do not overwork the dough. If you realize that you’ve been kneading for over 5 minutes, your dough is almost certainly being over-worked. Less is more when it comes to most non-bread doughs.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, roughly 2 feet long and ½ -inch thick. Cut the rope into ½ -inch pieces. You just brought gnocchi into the world – congratulations! Arrange the gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with a flour-dusted tea towel.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. While the water comes to a boil, place the butter cubes and parmesan in a large serving bowl and toss together. Working in batches, boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface of the water (about 2 minutes). Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place gently on top of the butter and parmesan. Once all the gnocchi have been cooked, add ¼ - ½ cup of the cooking water to the serving bowl and stir everything together until the butter and cheese have melded into a creamy sauce. I find it’s best to pour in less water to start and then keep adding more if you find the sauce needs to loosen up. Add the sage and toss well. Serve immediately with extra parmesan and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.