Golden, Crispy Gnocchi

Golden, Crispy Gnocchi Recipe


I spent Sunday afternoon at the ultimate potluck. The formula? Sunny day, sprawling backyard (with pool!), plenty of shade, and dozens of food bloggers gathering with their favorite plates and platters in tow (I pulled together this crispy gnocchi recipe). Owen was kind enough to open up his house, Guy (with help from some fairy angels) helped wrangle us into some semblance of order, and the whole day came together beautifully under a massive bay laurel tree. It was the second official gathering of Bay Area food bloggers.

Pretty colors

Back in 2004, Alder, Pim, Amy, Derrick, Alaina, Anne, Heather and I had a casual get-together in my kitchen, but looking back I don't think any of us could have anticipated the amazing expansion of the food blog community since then. I think I speak for all of us when I say that I feel very lucky to have met so many fantastic individuals because of this site - other site publishers, writers and (of course) readers. I can't wait for an international get-together. I'd love to try to make something happen in the next couple years (giving people plenty of time to plan and save money).

Pals

At something like this, the whole "what do I wear?" thing goes out the window (sort of). Instead, you start thinking about what you want to bring for the potluck, to share with people. This year everyone outdid themselves - it was a beautiful selection of cheeses, salads, wonderful wines, meats, and no shortage of sweets.

Garrett's rustic olive loaf

I decided to to do a pasta salad, sort-of. Don't start yawning quite yet. I used gnocchi instead of noodles, and a different cooking technique. I've sworn off boiling gnocchi for the time-being. Instead I've been pan-searing fresh gnocchi in a skillet until it is looks like the photo at the beginning of this post. Delicious. The crust gives great texture and eye appeal. For the potluck I decided to pair the gnocchi with a medley of fresh summer shell beans and some chanterelle mushrooms. I think the key was keeping the components mostly separated until I was ready to plate it so the gnocchi would stay intact and home I would finish everything off in one skillet.

Kim Goodfriend's Nectarine-Blueberry CrackClafoutisCobbler

I've included shots of some of the other contributions to the potluck. Not at all comprehensive. Penny did a nice photo round up on Flickr that you can see here.

Recipe du Jour - Golden, Crispy Gnocchi with Summer Shell Beans. As you can clearly see from this shot, I have a hard time talking and shooting at the same time

Thanks to everyone who helped pull this together. And thank-you Elise for sending me home with some delicious apple butter.

 
 
 
 

Golden, Crispy Gnocchi with Summer Shell Beans

Look for fresh shell beans, still in pods at your farmers' markets. This time I used cranberry beans, not being able to resist their vibrant, mottled pink pods. I also added a few handfuls of butter beans, and of course favas (which I can get here at the market through November). Most beans you can pop right out of the pod and throw into a pot of boiling water to cook. Favas you need to remove the beans from their big outer pods, give them a quick boil (a minute or two), drain, rinse with cold water to cool them off, and then pop them out of their light colored inner shell. Intensive but worth it.

I buy fresh gnocchi from a pasta maker at the farmers' market as well. Throw them right in a well-seasoned pan with some clarified butter, toss and let them brown on each side, no boiling. This is not a typo.

fresh shell beans (try a mix of fava, cranberry beans, butter beans), shelled, roughly three cups of beans

1 pound fresh gnocchi

1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms (optional - if you can't get chanterelles, skip the mushrooms)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced

a big handful of small cherry tomatoes, halved

clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil

splash of cream (optional)
freshly grated parmesan (optional)

Take the shelled beans and cook each type of bean in its own pot of water. They will take between 10 and 20 minutes to cook (taste to tell when they are done). Drain and salt to taste. Set aside. See header notes re: fava beans.

Heat a couple tablespoons of clarified butter (or olive oil) in a large well-seasoned (or non-stick) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and toss to coat with the butter. Let them cook until they are golden brown on the bottoms and then use a metal spatula to flip the gnocchi. Cook until they are golden all over. Salt, transfer to a platter and set aside.

Clean out that same big skillet, add a bit more butter or oil, and over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms, shallots and thyme along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. The mushrooms will release a bit of moisture, keep cooking, and let them get a bit of color (another minute or two).

Toss the cooked shell beans into the skillet with the mushrooms, add the tomatoes and cook for another few seconds. Remove from heat and stir in a splash of cream if you like. Pour the beans and mushrooms over the gnocchi and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Serve family style on a big plate or platter.

Serves 4-6.

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Your Comments


Elise
August 28, 2006

Hi Heidi,
Those gnocchi were amazing! I did taste hints of butter and Parmesan, no wonder. the beans were terrific too, so pretty and each one a flavor surprise.
:-)

 

Owen
August 28, 2006

Heidi - it was great to meet you even if only briefly. I'm afraid I missed out on your lovely dish - and was laughed at by my family later who all put it in the highlight section for the day!

I was happy that your companion (whose name I have already lost from my useless brain) liked the pool...

 

Tana
August 28, 2006

Heidi, that looks fantastic. Mouth-watering.

 

connie
August 28, 2006

what a wonderful idea! oh and I just saw lots and lots of shell beans at the farmers market today but I didn't buy any. hopefully they'll be there next week too!

 

Melissa
August 28, 2006

I am SO glad you've written up your dish! It was delicious and great for the hot day.

 

cookiecrumb
August 28, 2006

Beautiful wrap-up, Heidi. Fantastic photos, as always.
Here's the thought Cranky and I took away from the wonderful party: Food bloggers are really super people. Stellar.

 

Marina
August 28, 2006

I've heard about fried ravioli, but this is the first time I see fried gnocchi. Tomorrow is 29, so I'm going to try this.

 

Anita
August 28, 2006

Heidi,
So glad I got to finally meet you! I loved watching you shoot too (sorry for being such a nerd!)

 

Gigi
August 28, 2006

I'm not a food blogger- but- I sure wish I was at that gathering ! .. I looked at the photos and everything - including these shots look so mouthwatering!

 

shuna fish lydon
August 28, 2006

It's lovely to see how your shots came out under the dappled light of the Bay Laurel tree. I was quite fond of your plate. Aesthetically and taste-bud wise.

Thanks for always taking such amazing photos of me. :} I'm happy to be one of your delicious subjects!
Pate a choux gnocchi were my first foray into sauteed ones. yum.

 

sam
August 28, 2006

You can blame me. I think I was trying to talk to you whilst you were taking the shot of the gnocchi and bean salad. All my fault.

I am bummed I missed out on your impromptu photography lessons. Next time I am going to be milling around next to Heidi in the hope of some instruction.

you can also tell me the secret of your photogenicity. it's not that you don't look fabulous in real life - you absolutely do - it's just that you look super-fabulous in photographs. you need to give lessons in being in front of the camera as well as behind!

 

vici
August 28, 2006

h.
The last (and first) time I made gnocchi, They disintegrated in the gently boiling water. Because I knew, they were, mainly, delicious mashed potato, I froze what remained, with the idea to roast them in the oven. It's been too hot to turn on the oven, but it had not occured to me to sauté them in a skillet. Thanks "oh brilliant one"....v

 

Julia
August 29, 2006

Hi Heidi!
Very nice, it sounds indeed as a very lovely day...!
And what a beautiful pictures, must have been a lot of fun and a lot of great food with all those foodbloggers (!)
This gnocchi looks amazing; you can even see the little crusts. =)

 

Al
August 29, 2006

Great idea! Gnocchi are my absolute favorite "pasta" and will try this soon. However, my wife hates beans.. can you (or anyone else) suggest some 'light' alternatives, ie veggies or othe things to couple with the gnocchi (or 'yuckies' as me and my sister used to call them as kids in Italy).
Thanks for a great idea!
Al

 

Heidi
August 29, 2006

Let me know if you try this one...I think it lends itself to all sorts of toppings - I can see the technique move through the seasons quite easily. Pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter.
You could do a mushroom medley on top of the gnocchi in place of the beans. Fresh chopped tomatoes, sauteed for just a few seconds, with olive oil, basil, etc. Any other ideas?

 

gianni
August 30, 2006

Gnocchi are my favorite italian food.
I love your way to cook them !
;)

 

Nir
August 30, 2006

I love fried Gnocchi. An Italian restaurante near my house makes them with Rose sauce and its one of the best things I ever ate. I tried to reproduce the recipe at home but failed miserably since I am an ambitious bastard andtried to make the Gnocchi from scratch. NOT an easy task, getting the right texture is an art.

 

Julie O'Hara
August 30, 2006

Heidi,
I have been thinking a lot about gnocchi after eating the best of my life at a restaurant in Denver. I'm wondering why you don't boil them anymore. Would it work to boil briefly, then pan fry to get that golden crust? Hmmm, I'll have to do some experimenting.

 

Kevin
August 30, 2006

Wow, that looks amazing.

*beating fists on table* I WANT TO BE A BAY AREA FOOD BLOGGER!

 

Kory
August 30, 2006

I read this entire article to learn how to make 'Golden, Crispy Gnocchi', and there is NO Gnocchi recipe. How can a recipe be titled by an ingredient that is store bought?

 

Vincent
August 30, 2006

Heidi,

Wonderful pics of the gnocchi and favas - a great site.

Intense book selection as well. Keep it up.

 

madhusurya
August 31, 2006

oh! its really a test of crispy.i like it very when i had with my girl friend.............

 

Tara
August 31, 2006

The dappled sunlight in this series conjures up all the romance of late summer. Gnocchi is a truly comforting food, and I love your suggestions for taking it through the season. A current personal favorite is topped with a salsa verde.

 

Becke
August 31, 2006

Wow, looks like there was something at that gathering for everyone, and everything looks delicious. I wish someone would do something like that here in the Midwest...

I have got to admit, I'm kind of envious of you left coasters for having such a tight knit food blogging community.

 

Scott
August 31, 2006

Gnocchi are an amazing alternative to standard potatoes where food conformism determines that meals must be accompanied by some form of carbohydrate (pasta/rice/potatoes).
"Us Westerners" need to take leaf of this recipe and expand our combinations to avoid stagnation.

 

Mary Ladd
August 31, 2006

Those were your gnocchi? They were yummy. It was interesting to see you in action at the picnic and the results look good.

 

Brian
September 1, 2006

CRISPY? GNOCCHI??? As in CRISPY GNOCCHI?!?!?!??

All I've got to say is my dead Italian Grandmother is turning over in her grave right now!

But with a name like Heidi, I shouldn't be surprised. Non-Italians just don't get the beauty of pure unadulterated gnocchi...

 

Heidi
September 1, 2006

Wow. A couple haters. I'm not going to apologize for wanting to try something different. I've made plenty of fresh gnocchi and miles of pasta in my day (even if my name is Heidi). I mean, come on, how many more traditional gnocchi recipes do we need online?

My buddy Brett does a nice job here for starters: http://inpraiseofsardines.typepad.com/blogs/2006/02/secrets_to_maki.html

 

Anne (Papilles)
September 3, 2006

You gnocchis are amazing !

 

kashi
September 4, 2006

nice

 

Pilaf
September 5, 2006

Those gnocchi look mighty tasty, and if you set a bowl of those crispy gnocchi down next to a bowl of tradional ones right in front of me, i wouldn't even notice the traditional gnocchi. Thank you for the inspiration, I'm looking forward to experimenting with it a.s.a.p!
kudos to you on a mouth-watering new twist on an old, passe recipe. :)
(And no, i'm not italian either. But I can't let culture stop me from noticing some very fine ideas and blends in the kitchen :))

 

Lazuli
September 6, 2006

Where do you get fresh gnocchi? I've seen it in the grocery store but I don't know if you could call it fresh...please help this looks yummy!

 

Marcella Robin
September 7, 2006

Thanks for the recipe. I saw it a few weeks ago and good thing because yesterday I had to make a dish showcasing local shell beans from the farmers market. I remembered the photo from this recipe and went from there.

I'm a macrobiotic chef, so I adjusted the gnocchi recipe: sweet potato, whole wheat flour, with ginger and garlic. I finished the whole dish with lime juice. Delicious!!! Thanks again.

 

Lucy
September 7, 2006

I pan fried some gnocchi last night with a little olive oil, garlic and basil. It was amazing--thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

thea
September 17, 2006

made these last night topped with sauteed yellow zucchini, red peppers, onion, garlic and tomato with a splash of white wine. delicious!
also, i used store-bought gnocchi, which i think are usually terrible (i grew up making gnocchi from scratch) but worked really well in this recipe.

 

brian
October 5, 2006

Heidi!

I made this tonight for our weekly cooking night and I have to say, it was phenomenal. The fava beans i got at Whole Foods here in Austin paled in comparison to what the Ferry market sold; these also cooked faster than I'd expected and they disintegrated just a bit. Also I couldn't find chanterelles on short notice.

That said, I have to put in a dig for the best handmade pasta store I've ever had the pleasure to live near: Austin's Pasta & Co, run out of a tiny, converted old house here, supplies all of Austin's good restaurants with their pasta, and runs a retail shop in the converted mud room. I never liked Lucca on Valencia in SF, which was sad since I lived 3 blocks from the place. Their pasta was really bright yellow; Lulu speculated they maybe went heavy on egg yolks? It wasn't amazing, barely better than dried pasta.

Pasta & Co, by contrast, is cheap ($5 for a pound of fresh gnocchi) and today I showed up *just* after they closed (damn traffic!) but the girl closing up was wonderful and let me come in, got me a pound of gnocchi, and then -- because she'd already turned off the registers -- gave it to me for free! After that, the meal was destined to be good.

The bag she grabbed out of the fridge was tricolor, and it fried extremely well. The fava beans came out perfectly salted, and the shallots and thyme (both things i could stand to use more of in my cooking) complemented it all perfectly. Everyone loved it. Just an excellent dish.

I'm sad that not only am I not a food blogger, but I'm also not even in the Bay Area anymore either. So I'm doubly unlikely to make it to any of these. Alas, I'll cook the recipes longingly from sunny Austin.

 

Heidi
October 6, 2006

Brian, you are certainly missed! We had a feast the other night when Souris and Silvio were in town - with Lulu and the gang. You should have been there. I spotted the bags of frozen favas at Whole Foods last week and grabbed a pound to try. They were quite large and starchy, and kind of mushy after I defrosted them. I think I'll be sticking with hours of Sunday afternoon shelling. xo-h