From Mexican scents of Green Chile Waffled Quesadillas, we move to Italy spirits with this second recipe from Will It Waffle? 53 Unexpected and Irresistible Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron (Workman Publishing, August 2014) by Daniel Shumski...
Waffled Sweet Potato Gnocchi
IRON: Standard preferred | TIME: 2 hours | YIELD: Serves 4 (makes about 60 gnocchi)
These could easily become your new once-a-month tradition.
Living in Argentina gave me an appreciation for gnocchi. Although Europe is an ocean away, immigration left its mark and Italian influence is strong there. The 29th of every month was gnocchi day. Lines formed at pasta shops to buy gnocchi for the evening meal.
Why gnocchi and why on that day? The idea is that it’s the end of the month and the pantry is bare. The ingredients for gnocchi couldn’t be more humble: potatoes and flour, though many people
add some Parmesan and maybe an egg. Maybe you don’t have much, but you have enough to make gnocchi. And gnocchi are comforting and filling.
Gnocchi often get lumped in the pasta section of the menu, but in truth they are potato dumplings. Many recipes use boiled potatoes, but this recipe uses baked. The fluffy, dry texture of the baked
potato means we can control the amount of moisture added, in the form of an egg.
If you’re serious about gnocchi, you use a ridged paddle called a gnocchi board to put the trademark indentations in the gnocchi. If you’re not serious about gnocchi—or have a healthy disregard for
tradition—you use a waffle iron.
There are two cooking methods. The first method is cooking the gnocchi to completion in the waffle iron. This results in golden brown dumplings that pair nicely with a pesto sauce.
The second method is the surprise: You don’t even turn on the waffle iron. Use the waffle iron grid to shape the dough and then cook the gnocchi in boiling water. This gives you waffled dumplings that are moist and pillowy, and the gnocchi’s indentations hold the sauce of your choosing beautifully.
1 large baking potato (such as russet) and 1 large sweet potato (about 1½ pounds total)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the work surface
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of grated nutmeg (optional)
1 large egg, beaten
Nonstick cooking spray or melted buter
Pesto or Waffled Sage and Butter Sauce
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Bake the potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, about an hour. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel them. (They may be just shy of the texture you'd want in a baked potato, but keep in mind they're being cooked again later.) Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer or grate them over the large holes of a box grater and into a large bowl.
3 Add the 1 1⁄4 cups flour to the potatoes and use your hands to mix them together, breaking up any lumps of potato along the way. Sprinkle the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over the dough and knead lightly to distribute evenly.
4 Once the flour and potatoes are combined, make a well in the center of the bowl and add the
beaten egg. Using your fingers, work the egg through the dough until it starts to come together. It
will be slightly sticky.
5 On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough a few times to bring it together. It should be moist, but not wet and sticky. If it’s too sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time, up to 1⁄ 4 cup. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 4 pieces.
6 Roll each piece into a rope about the diameter of your thumb and then use a sharp knife to cut into 1-inch segments.
7 Preheat the waffle iron on medium. Coat both sides of the waffle iron grid with nonstick spray, or butter the grids using a silicone pastry brush. Turn down the oven to its lowest setting and set aside a baking sheet to keep the finished gnocchi warm.
8 Gently shake off any residual flour from the gnocchi and place a batch on the waffle iron, leaving a bit of space for each to expand. Close the lid and cook until the grid marks on the gnocchi are golden brown, 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi, keeping the cooked gnocchi warm on the baking sheet in the oven.
9 Serve hot with Pesto Sauce or Waffled Sage and Butter Sauce.
There’s another method possible: shaping the gnocchi in the waffle iron and boiling them.
Follow the recipe through Step 6. Do not turn on the waffle iron. Dust the gnocchi lightly with flour, place them in the waffle iron, leaving space for the gnocchi to spread a bit, and close the lid. After 10 seconds, lift the lid, remove the gnocchi, and set them aside on a plate.
Repeat until you’ve shaped all the gnocchi. At this point, the gnocchi can be boiled until they
float, about 2 minutes, or flashfrozen in a single layer on a baking sheet for an hour, and then transferred to a zip-top bag for storage in the freezer. Frozen gnocchi will take an extra
minute to cook.
(Recipe excerpted from Will It Waffle? 53 Unexpected and Irresistible Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron -Workman Publishing, August 2014- by Daniel Shumski)