Nothing says love like a big ol’ bowl of guilt-free carbs…..and a glass bottle of wine….and forcing your loved one to cook with you. Lucky for you this gnocchi and 5-ingredient tomato sauce comes with all three so you’ll be getting lots of love come Saturday. Here’s how it’s going to go- convince your significant other that it will be fun and romantic to cook an Italian dinner together. They agree. You volunteer to tackle the difficult task of pouring wine (hey, someone’s got to do it…). They get to work on the potatoes. You sit back and drink said wine give super important directions on how to cook the potatoes to perfection. You continue to drink wine give more important directions, they continue to cook. If they question you, gently remind them that someone has to drink the wine read the directions, because we all know reading and cutting things simultaneously never ends well. Before you know it the wine will be gone dinner will be all done. And then you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your carbs guilt-free, all because you lovingly sacrificed the wine yourself so your loved one wouldn’t have to struggle through the most difficult job of the day. Ah, the things we do for love…..
GNOCCHI & SIMPLESAUCE
3 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting & shaping
Simple sauce (recipe follows)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil, shredded
Peel, rinse, and cut the potatoes into quarters. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, throw on a sprinkle of salt, and then bring to a boil. Cook until a knife can easily be inserted into the potatoes (if you crack a potato open and it looks "crystallized" that means they are perfectly cooked). Drain the potatoes in colander and cover them with a dish towel or wet paper towel to help them retain heat while they dry out.
Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, use a potato masher (or a couple of forks) to break apart the potatoes. You want them to be crumbly, not paste.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the egg and cheese. Add in the potatoes and the flour and work them together, starting on low then gradually increasing the speed to medium. Continue mixing until the dough clings to the hook, about 4 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few more minutes to smooth the dough out. Cover the dough with the damp paper towels (or kitchen towel) to keep the dough moist as you work through the next steps.
With floured hands (and extra flour close by), pull off a handball-sized piece of dough. Roll out out into chubby cigar shape, with a thicker middle. Then continue rolling into a long snake (about 1/2 inch thick), working your palms from the middle outwards. Using a serrated knife cut the dough into gnocchi (about every inch) and arrange on parchment or kitchen towel lined baking sheet (to keep the gnocchi from sticking). Repeat with the remaining dough.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi in and cook for about 2-5 minutes. When they start floating to the top of water it means they are done. Strain and serve immediately with sauce (recipe follows), a generous spoonful of ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and lots of parm
Gnocchi should be cooked as soon as it's shaped. However, if necessary, you can refrigerate it for a few hours before cooking. Cooked gnocchi can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two and then reheated. Fresh always tastes best, though.
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic (or 3 large cloves), chopped (not minced)
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can of crushed Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Add the oil and garlic to a large, deep saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to turn golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
Toss in the red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Then stir in the tomatoes and salt. You'll have to stir a few solid minutes to make sure the oil is fully incorporated into the tomatoes. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring every once in awhile. If the sauce starts to dry up and get to thick, I like to add a little water or a splash of red one (maybe about 1/4-1/2 cup, not too much). Continue cooking the sauce until you are ready to serve (I'd say simmer anywhere from 1-4 hours, with the sauce tasting better the longer it simmers).
Yields: 3 cups
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Recipe Inspiration Recipes from Frankie’s cookbook & restaurant (one of our favorite restaurants in our neighborhood)