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Carrot + Potato Gnocchi

Back in the days when we were in Berlin, we loved pan-frying store-bought potato gnocchi with some vegan German pestos from organic and local supermarkets. Gnocchi was pretty cheap for us to have around, and they cost about 1 euro or less in 2009, with only few ingredients (potato & flour). Some store-bought gnocchi products contain egg and/or dairy, so be wary of them. Not all of them are vegan. there are few vegan-friendly store-bought gnocchi packages such as the Gia Russa Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Sweet Potato or De Cecco Gnocchi.

And here we are, back in Oregon, making gnocchi from scratch for the first time, including carrot (& potato) gnocchi. Doni made one batch of original potato gnocchi and one more batch of carrot gnocchi for a variety of colors. Each batch makes about 36 gnocchi depending on the sizes you make. I would say at least 35-40 to be safe.

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Carrot & Potato Gnocchi pictured above, they are 100% vegan without the use of eggs. Doni discovered a very useful gnocchi recipe, written by Mark Bittman, from The New York Times magazine (Gnocchi of a Different Color, February 21, 2013).  Please note, making gnocchi takes practice and persistence. We started out with potato and carrot gnocchi recipes. For the sauces, you can use tomato sauce, olive oil & garlic, cashew cream sauce, or even vegan butter-sage sauce with Parmela vegan parmesan.

Here is the basic and “master” recipe for Potato Gnocchi. Once you know how to make potato gnocchi, you can play it around with other vegetables to make it colorful such as carrots, beets, spinach, squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, chard, and even kale. According to Doni’s experience, this batch makes about 36 gnocchi depending on the sizes you make.

Master Gnocchi Recipe

Yield: about 36 pieces

Ingredients

1½ pounds starchy potatoes
Salt and pepper
½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake potatoes until tender, about an hour. Immediately split them open to let the steam escape. When you can handle the potatoes, scoop out their flesh.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Pass potato flesh through a ricer or food mill, and season to taste.
  3. Sprinkle ¼ cup flour on a clean counter or cutting board, and knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling in the remaining ¼ cup flour, until the dough just comes together. Pinch off a piece of the dough, and boil it to make sure it will hold its shape. If it does not, knead in a bit more flour (no more than necessary), and try again; the gnocchi will float to the top and look a little ragged when ready.
  4. Roll a piece of the dough into a rope about ½-inch thick, then cut the rope into ½-inch lengths. Score each piece by rolling it along the tines of a fork; as each piece is ready, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper; do not allow the gnocchi to touch one another.
  5. Add gnocchi to the boiling water a few at a time, and stir gently; adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously. A few seconds after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are done; remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer.

Notes

Adapted from Mark Bittman.

Mark Bittman’s helpful tips for making the dough

1) Stick with starchy potatoes (i.e., regular old russets or baking potatoes). It holds the dough together.
2) You don’t want overcooked, waterlogged potatoes; the wetter they are, the more flour you’ll need. You could also boil them whole and unpeeled and let them dry in the  low oven once they are fully tender.
3) Use as little flour as you can get away with to make the dough hold its shape. Add the flour a little at a time, and test-boil a piece of dough — even if you think it’s not ready yet — to see if it holds together.
4) Be gentle when mixing and kneading; the idea is to avoid overdeveloping the gluten.

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carrot-gnocchi

To make Carrot + Potato Gnocchi, it is pretty simple. If you want to use different vegetables instead of carrot, use the same weight and cook them in olive oil until soft, puree them in the food processor, and mix them into the cooked potatoes. You will need a little more flour because the vegetables carry some extra moisture.

Carrot + Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients

½ pound carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds starchy potatoes
Salt and pepper
¾ to 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake potatoes until tender, about an hour. Immediately split them open to let the steam escape. When you can handle the potatoes, scoop out their flesh.
  2. Peel and grate ½ pound carrots.
  3. Cook in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat, seasoning to taste, until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to food processor and purée until smooth.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Pass potato flesh through a ricer or food mill, and season to taste. Stir the carrots into the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle ¼ cup flour on a clean counter or cutting board, and knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling in the remaining ¼ cup flour, until the dough just comes together. Pinch off a piece of the dough, and boil it to make sure it will hold its shape. If it does not, knead in a bit more flour (no more than necessary), and try again; the gnocchi will float to the top and look a little ragged when ready.
  5. Roll a piece of the dough into a rope about ½-inch thick, then cut the rope into ½-inch lengths. Score each piece by rolling it along the tines of a fork; as each piece is ready, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper; do not allow the gnocchi to touch one another.
  6. Add gnocchi to the boiling water a few at a time, and stir gently; adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously. A few seconds after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are done; remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, and finish with any of the sauces below.

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