Peach Gnocchi

Peach Gnocchi Recipe


If you're up for a project, this is it. When I visited Valparaiso, Chile a few weeks back, we had dinner with a big group of friends at Pasta y Vino, a cute neighborhood hotspot nestled in the hills above the sea-side port - just a short stroll down the hill from our hotel. Rodrigo, who was in Chile for a family wedding (and also happens to be the winemaker at bio-dynamic Benzinger Family Winery in Sonoma), let me taste one of the strawberry gnocchi he ordered. Savory not sweet, bursting with bright strawberry flavor and served with some sort of light champagne sauce, it was flat out amazing. When I stumbled on a few "cosmetically challenged" Frog Hollow peaches for a bargain upon my return to San Francisco, I thought a savory peach version might be an interesting twist. I added some fresh peach puree to the gnocchi base and paired it with a quick and simple, peach-accented, shallot and champagne sauce.

Peach Gnocchi Recipe

Those of you who have been readers of the site for some time know I make gnocchi like this. I normally boil the potatoes. I knew in this version more liquid ingredients would be added, so I thought I'd better compensate for that. Someone made a comment years ago on the basic gnocchi recipe page recommending baking the potatoes instead of boiling. The logic being that the dry heat of an oven will keep potatoes dry as possible - drier than if you boil them - important if you want to avoid damp, gummy gnocchi. So I tried the baked potato approach for the first time and it went well.

Peach Gnocchi Recipe

It was an interesting experiment. I love the lightness of this gnocchi and sauce combination, but I'd also love to do a version with a much more concentrated peach flavor in the gnocchi itself - I'd scale back on the peaches and cream in the sauce - opting for a lighter sauce. Let me know if you have any ideas. I thought about cooking the peaches way, way down ahead of time, or boiling down peach juice to a syrupy concentrate - but in the end thought that fresh, uncooked peaches might be nicer...anyways, I'm interested in hearing other approaches.

 
 
 
 

Peach Gnocchi Recipe

Just know what you are getting into here before you start. Have plenty of time, and plenty of counter space at your disposal if at all possible. This recipe makes enough for a crowd, but I'd recommend a test run before inviting a crowd over for a gnocchi feast. It can take a bit of time to get the swing of things the first time you try this. If you have a ricer on hand by all means use it to get your potatoes mashed, but using a fork works well too. For those of you wanting to do some of the preparation in advance, you can mash the potatoes a day ahead of time, put them in a covered bowl overnight, and incorporated the peaches, egg and flour the next day if you like.

Scant 2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets, or 3-4 smaller ones)
1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten

4 peaches, extra ripe, cut in half, pitted and peeled and pureed with the juice of half a lemon (you should end up with about 1 cup of puree)

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour OR unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup shallots, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups Champagne
cream
salt
a bit of fresh thyme

Bake the potatoes in a preheated 350F degree oven for about an hour or until well-cooked through. When fully cooked you can pick them up using an oven mitt and give a gentle squeeze - they will give generously in your hand. If in doubt, cut into one to be sure the middle of the potato is cooked through. Try to peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the oven (without burning yourself) - I've found a paring knife comes in handy here. Peel all the potatoes first, and then move on to the "mashing". You want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot, it's critical that they don't sit around steaming in their jackets. To mash the potatoes you can either push the potatoes through a ricer, or do what I do, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork - mash isn't quite the right term here. I run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with (see photo). Don't over-mash - you are simply after an even consistency with no noticeable lumps. Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board - ten or fifteen minutes, long enough that the egg won't cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes.

When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound - drizzle with the egg, 1/3 cup of the peach puree (reserve the rest for your sauce), salt and about 3/4 cup of the flour. I've found that a metal spatula or large pastry scraper are both great utensils to use to incorporate the flour and eggs and peaches into the potatoes. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour (and in this case a touch more), but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, the weather, and whether the gnocchi gods are smiling on you. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut the dough into eight pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.

You can skip this step if you are having trouble. To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork - the cut ends should be facing out. With confidence and an assertive (but very light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight "C" shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don't get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it's easy. And like I said, if you are having too much trouble - skip it.

Before you cook the gnocchi, get your sauce ready. Saute the shallots along with the butter and a pinch of salt in a big skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the shallots are deeply golden and nicely caramelized. Stand back a bit and (carefully) deglaze the pan by adding about 1/2 the champagne to the skillet. After the initial hissing subsides pour in the rest. Stir and get all the bits off the bottom of the pan and let the mixture reduce way down until just about 1/3 is left. Remove from heat and stir in the peach puree, a generous splash of cream, a big pinch of fresh thyme leaves, and you'll likely need a bit more salt as well. Set aside.

Now that you are on the final stretch, bring a big pot of (salted) water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. You will know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they've surfaced. Have a large platter (or individual plates) ready with a layer of the champagne sauce. Place the gnocchi on plates/platter. Continue cooking and plating in batches until all the gnocchi are done. Serve immediately with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Serves six to eight.

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Your Comments


Mr. Ruff
September 19, 2008

Hmmm, I don't think I would have ever thought to put fruit in with gnocci. I also would have thought it would make it overly sweet. I will have to tinker around with this and experiment. Thanks for the concept.

 

Wow! What an amazing idea. I really love dishes that have that contrast of sweetness to savoriness, so the idea really appeals to me. I have made gnocci once or twice before and it was a big hit at my house, so I bet this idea would go over well.

 

Michelle
September 19, 2008

Heidi! I've been lurking forever and love your recipes, stories and photographs. I'd love to hear more of your adventures in Chile - I am headed there for three weeks in November and would love any recommendations, if you have the time!

 

Becky and the Beanstock
September 19, 2008

I've been using peaches in all sorts of savory dishes lately -- tis (still, but not for much longer) the season here. I can't get enough of them. My favorite was grilled peaches with prawns. I love it that they can go either way -- you can take advantage of the sweetness or the vibrant tropical aspects. I can't wait to try this recipe -- thyme pairs so well with peaches -- but, as you said, it looks like a project. It's on the list though!

 

Laura
September 19, 2008

This sounds delicious... I can't wait to make it to Chile. I have a few friends there and have never been able to visit! I'll be making these on the dining table due to lack our counter space, but that won't stop me!

 

Kimberly
September 19, 2008

Oooooh, this looks like fun! I don't usually have enough time on my hands to go through the whole gnocchi-making process.... do you think it would work out okay with the imported kind they sell at Trader Joe's or other specialty stores? I'd like to spend my time playing around w/the sauce. Savory fruit sauces have been my new "thing" lately. :)

 

Rebecca
September 19, 2008

Wow. That's all I can say. I love this idea, and so glad the idea for it sparked while enjoying a discovery while traveling! I think there are a number of ways you could do that sauce, depending on your preference that day! Thanks!

 

Elaine
September 19, 2008

This looks divine; however I have people in my family that are in recovery. What could you substitute for the champagne?

 

Adele
September 19, 2008

Thank you so much for such a wonderful idea and recipe to play with. Being Italian, I make Gnocchi a lot but would never have thought of using fruit. I am certainly intriqued and look foward to trying this. The strawberry sounds wonderful also.

 

Fit Bottomed Girls
September 19, 2008

Wow, this is ambitious. Although, I do love a good gnocchi. And paired with savory fruit? It sounds delightful. And worth the time and effort.

 

Biz319
September 19, 2008

I made homemade gnocci about a month ago because my daughter loves it.

I actually looked up on www.youtube.com how to make gnocci, and I found a video of a guy videotaping his Italian grandmother. Step by step instructions! (I am much better copying a recipe when I "see" it done).

They turned out great - however, I don't think I will ever be as quick as that grandma!

 

hmsuzy
September 19, 2008

Good day one and all, have you thought about slow cooking peaches in the oven similar to oven dried tomatoes? The fruit should become intensified. Possibly the sliced peaches with some added sweetness, a splash of liquid or peach flavored liquor at about 200 to 250 degrees for about 4 to 5 hours. You have given me an idea to experiment over the next few wks. The concept is similar to making ice cream flavors & intensifies flavors in other desserts.

HS: Love this idea Loriann!

 

Rhoda
September 19, 2008

Thanks for posting this recipe and the reference to Chile. It brought back fond memories of my trip there in February 2007. I had some remarkable local food there, although I must say it was not the norm!

 

Julie's Raw Ambition
September 19, 2008

So beautiful and delicate...I've never made gnocchi, and yes this would definitely be a project that would test my patience and ADD tendencies :)

 

Ginny
September 19, 2008

Delicious! I've tried a number of gnocchi variations but never something sweet...thanks for the idea!

 

Nicole
September 19, 2008

Two goals of mine for this winter are to learn to make Gnocchi and the second will be to find a few good veggie burger recipes. I think you will be a huge help for both.

 

Erin
September 19, 2008

It looks so delicate. My mouth is watering.

 

just barrie
September 19, 2008

for those who don't have time or space, i would skip the making gnocchi part, buy some at the store and make the sauce. sounds different and delicious!

 

chefeclaire
September 19, 2008

This looks delicious. I just did a four course dinner party around peaches and would have loved to have added this as a fifth!!! Oh, well, I'll try it out solo. Somehow I think sage would be nice with the peaches....just a thought. Maybe some fried sage leaves as garnish?

Also, I see a lot of people are interested in Chili. I was there this winter and it's the last entry on my blog if anyone wants to read more about it or needs some hotel, restaurant, vineyard recommendations....

 

In AK
September 19, 2008

I wonder how it would be with ricotta gnocchi, which is the kind that I make. Heidi, can you describe the strawberry version a bit more? I have a ton of strawberries that I'd like to use up. Thanks.

 

Krystyn
September 19, 2008

Wow I am going to make this right now! Could I substitute a dry, sweet white wine for the champagne?

 

Cori
September 19, 2008

I used to make a dish with Gnocchi dough where I would wrap some of the dough around pieces of peach, fresh plum or prunes. Boil them off and they were delicious sauteed with brown butter, breadcrumbs and brown sugar (just a little bit).

 

nina
September 19, 2008

I love Gnocchi... I grew up in a Hungarian home and Plum Gnocchi was a staple dessert, and it is simple... just wrap a half purple plum in the Gnocchi dough and after they boil toss in toasted breadcrumbs and sugar... Yum.....Gotta try this peach version soon.

 

Rodrigo
September 19, 2008

Being from Chile, it seems I have either a project after the strawberry risotto or an impending trip to Valparaíso.

Thanks1

 

Nicole
September 19, 2008

Sounds stunning. I want to try it, but I'd need to substitute the regular flour for a gluten-free alternative. I was thinking rice or Sorghum.

Heidi and fellow Heidi-admirers, do any of you have thoughts about whether this would work? I have a sense that gluten is not what makes light gnocchi, but I wouldn't want to spend all that time & wind up with inedible pebbles.

 

Reeni
September 19, 2008

I would of never thought to pair fruit with gnocchi but now I'm intriqued! How refreshing!

 

Alice
September 19, 2008

I made gnocchi tonight! It was delicious! My husband made a sauce of olive oil sliced onions, minced garlic, scallions and ground chili peppers and some old red wine we had that needed using and they turned out beautifully. The chili peppers were a nice contrast to the starch and olive oil. Thanks!

 

Lynette
September 19, 2008

I have always thought that dessert pizzas and pastas were a modern conceit, but your idea along with those of the other posters has given me an idea for dinner tomorrow night. Thanks a million.

 

Debbie
September 19, 2008

Hi, Hiedi,
This sounds great! How about the strawberry version? It sounds amazing and I would love to make them.

 

ygardiner
September 19, 2008

This looks like a great dish for a celebratory meal on a summer's day. I wonder if you make gnocchi with other fruits, pears? apples?

 

chika
September 20, 2008

Hello Heidi - somehow, this is the third time I've seen/heard a mention of making gnocchi in this past 24 hours, and don't even like gnocchi! And the last one I saw was plum gnocchi, which was a dessert/snack rather than a savory dish. This one looks divine, though, as I love peach AND champagne. And I guess I'd opt for boiling down peach puree, too, if this current version isn't peach-y enough.

That said, I've already wrapped up my peach experiments for this year, as I saw off the season's last peaches last week... boo. I might try with apples now. Thanks for sharing your experiment!

 

anniem
September 20, 2008

gnocchi with shallots and peaches?? What on earth for. Heidi, I mostly love your recipes but this one definitely does not float my boat.I won't be trying it

 

sunil
September 20, 2008

looking very nice in the dish, I just touched that item made in the dish, on my screen. :) very nice preparation here,

with kind regards

sunil

 

Me
September 20, 2008

Cori's recipe sounds almost exactly like knoedel I get when I visit family back in Austria. It's essentially the same dough as gnocchi, but you put it around (whole, pitted) apricots or plums. The brown butter and sugared breadcrumbs are a must. God, they're delicious.

 

gurung
September 20, 2008

Hiedi,
where do you get these recipes? what an excellant dish you are givin us. hope next will another the best

 

Laurie
September 21, 2008

From reading some of the comments I think some of you are missing the "savory" idea of this dish. I often grill fish or (sorry all-veggie folks) pork chops alongside peaches, and they add a nice semi-sweet contrast to the spices and flavors of the fish or meat... Or, I use ripe but firm peaches (mango also works well) to make salsa with black beans, red onion, green or red or yellow peppers, lime juice and cayenne pepper to make a salsa for fish. This salsa also had an interesting hot and only semi-sweet flavor. Now, if I grill peaches to serve with vanilla ice cream, that's dessert! Grilled peaches taste much sweeter next to ice cream than next to grilled fish. Go figure, same flavor in the peaches, but what's eaten with them, added to them, alters not only the actual taste, but maybe our perception of what the taste will be? The mind, not only a horrible thing to waste, but something fun to play culinary tricks upon!

 

Chubbypanda
September 21, 2008

I had no idea you could make gnocchi with fruit. It looks really refreshing.

 

Shana Ray
September 21, 2008

What a great variation of one of my personal favorite meals. I will have to test this out soon! Great image too!

Thanks.

 

Monica
September 21, 2008

Cori and "Me",

That recipe you both write about was called/pronounced "Silvash-Gombosch" in our Jewish/Rumanian/Hungarian/Chilean household. I never got to try it but my dad still raves about his mom's version.

Heidi is that a photo of Valparaiso? It looks so beautiful, I hardly recognize it! Your photos, your recipes and your stories are truly ispired and inspiring!

 

I can't remember the last time I had time for a project like this! But it gives me the cooking itch just reading about it...never heard of peaches with any sort of pasta before!

 

andru
September 22, 2008

That is an awesome idea

 

Emily
September 22, 2008

Very interesting recipe, and just further confirmation that I need to get to Pasta y Vino! I've heard good things about it from friends here in Chile and have been past it but never actually eaten there. I will for sure check it out on my next trip to Valpo. And if any of the people with questions about Chile see this, I'm from the US and now live in Santiago, feel free to check out my blog and e-mail me if you'd like to know more about life on the other side of the world!

 

Margo
September 22, 2008

Well, I never comment, but I had to on this one. I can't tell you about peach gnocchi, but I loved this chicken with savory pear sauce, which is vaguely similar - maybe it'd give you some sauce ideas?

 

Maggie
September 23, 2008

I had a blueberry gnocchi in a little restaurant in Trento, Italy about a year ago- it totally blew my mind. I've been dreaming of recreating it ever since but didn't know how to go about it. I think that I may try using your recipe with a blueberry puree and see how it turns out.

HS: Please report back Maggie, I'd love to know how your experiments go!

 

Hillary
September 23, 2008

I really like this idea and can't wait for a second version with more peach flavor in the gnocchi itself.