Friday, February 3, 2012

Microwave Gnocchi with Parsley + Spinach + Walnut Pesto

What's the worst part about making gnocchi? If you immediately thought, "Steaming the potatoes," you're absolutely right. It's a real pain. Well, I figured out a better way via the microwave. All you do is microwave peeled, cubed potatoes and a tablespoon of water for 8 minutes, wait another 8 minutes, and then they are ready to be mashed and mixed into real Italian potato dumplings. Making homemade gnocchi this way is so simple.

Once you have the dumplings formed and cooked, you can serve them with any sauce that you'd serve over pasta. I usually choose to serve my gnocchi with a garlicky pesto. 

Microwave Gnocchi

Parsley + Spinach + Walnut Pesto (recipe follows)
2 cups peeled, cubed starchy potatoes (about 2 medium Russet or Idaho)
1 tablespoon water
2 medium eggs (beaten)
1 cup flour (semolina or all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare pesto according to the recipe and set aside in the fridge while you assemble the gnocchi dough. Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid (or a plate) to cover. Microwave on high for 8 minutes, and then allow potatoes to rest, covered, for another 8 minutes in the microwave. Next, mash potatoes with a potato masher and add the eggs, flour, and salt. Mix with your hands until just mixed. You want everything well incorporated, but do not over mix. If you over mix the dough it will become slightly gummy. Pat dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter, or knife, cut dough into roughly 1/2-inch rectangles. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; cook gnocchi for 2-3 minutes. When they're done, they'll float. Remove them directly into a 12-inch pan filled with 1-2 cups of your favorite sauce.

For extra flavor, sear the cooked gnocchi in olive oil before adding your sauce. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch pan to medium-high heat. Once the gnocchi float, drain them well and place them in to the hot pan. This will platter so be very, very careful. Allow gnocchi to sear for 3 minutes before trying to flip them. Turn them using a metal spatula. This takes some practice, but it's worth it.

Parsley + Spinach + Walnut Pesto

1 cup blanched spinach (about 4 cups fresh)
2 cups fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
zest from 1 lemon
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

Place spinach, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, walnuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper into the food processor. Pulse until everything is incorporated into a bright green paste. Place the pesto into a 12-inch frying pan over low heat just to warm it through. Once gnocchi is cooked pull them out of the water and directly into the pan. Mix the pesto with the gnocchi and top with feta cheese. Use a few tablespoons of pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. 


  1. I will do these sometime this week!

  2. The recipe for the gnocchi was very straight forward and came together nicely. It wasn't exactly clear what to do with the pasta water, but I put the pesto in a skillet and added water to it before I put the boiled gnocchi in. The lemony pesto was great, pretty light for a pesto, especially once I thinned it with the pasta water. I had never made gnocchi before, and even though they were a tad gummy (I probably overworked the dough) I was surprised at how easy this was! I didn't sear them in oil, just the straight boil.

  3. Thank you so much for doing these. Gnocchi is a strange thing. I've made them a million times and still I screw it up somehow on occasion. So, I'm so glad that you had success on your first try. That makes me feel great.