By Andrew Zimmern
Potatoes are one of Maine’s most valuable agricultural commodities, last year the state harvested nearly 2 BILLION pounds. There is a newer varietal, the widely available Caribou Russet, that’s ideal for my favorite gnocchi recipe. This gnocchi dough is so forgiving and simple, so no need to be intimidated. Plus, it makes a big batch that you can freeze for a second meal. I like to serve the gnocchi ‘alla panna,’ a simple sauce with prosciutto, cream, peas and a little cheese.
Potato Gnocchi alla Panna
- 3 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup grated Reggiano parmesan
- 1 head garlic
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more on hand
The Sauce (for 4 entrée portions)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 slices Parma prosciutto, sliced into thin julienne
- Pinch of dried chile flakes
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1/2 cup grated Reggiano parmesan, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romana, or more to taste
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the garlic bulb into a small oven proof container (aluminum foil works well) and roast for 1 hour. Remove and let rest at room temperature. Cut the top off the bulb and squeeze out the roasted garlic, mash and reserve.
Clean and prick the skin of the potatoes. Turn the heat up to 375 degrees and place the potatoes onto a sheet tray and cook until done, 50-60 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut in half, scoop out the potato flesh and pass through a ricer or food mill into a large work bowl. Add the roasted garlic puree, the cheese, parsley, egg and egg yolks.
Add 2 cups of the flour and mix quickly using 2 or 3 forks held in your hand, let the fork tines ‘pull’ the ‘dough’ into a pile of small clumps. Add flour a little at a time until dough holds together when pinched. Gather dough into a ball and let rest for several minutes.
Roll out onto a floured work surface, into a big log and cut into fifths, roll each piece by hand into a long ‘hot dog’. Cut every ½ inch using a pastry bench knife. Freeze on a sheet pan and bag for later use, or cook in rapidly boiling salted water until dumplings float for 60 seconds.
Dip a small cup into the pasta water and reserve a few tablespoons of the water. Drain gnocchi and reserve.
Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter, prosciutto and chile flake and cook for a couple minutes. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper. When cream begins to simmer add the gnocchi and peas. If sauce is too tight, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of the pasta water. Cook for several minutes, then add the cheese. Cook until sauce tightens slightly, and add a little pasta water if needed to achieve a nice sauce consistency.