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That’s what these homemade gnocchi reminded me of. And who doesn’t love tater tots? 

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Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is my gold standard for new recipes. He says that gnocchi ought to be “ethereal,” not heavy and gummy. I wouldn’t say these reached empyrean status, but they were much lighter than frozen gnocchi from the grocery store.

The recipe is simple but labor-intensive. You take a pound of floury potatoes (I used two really big baking potatoes) and boil them until very tender but not falling apart. Then you mash and add a half-cup of flour. Knead this a few times, divide into six pieces, roll into ropes and snip off the individual lumplets.

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I used a potato ricer to mash mine. I’m convinced it made them lighter.

Bittman says that the key is adding the smallest amount of flour that will still allow the gnocchi to hold together when dropped in boiling water. He recommends cooking a test gnoccho to see if it disintegrates.

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Dumplings ready for the pot. I noticed that the dough gets stickier as time passes, so it’s best to work quickly.

The gnocchi are finished one minute after they rise to the top of the boiling water.

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I decided to panfry the gnocchi in butter, and garnish them with fried sage leaves from the garden. Panfrying gives them a nice crispy outer surface that mimics the tater tot. The Long-Suffering Husband heartily approved.

According to Ore-Ida, a serving of 9 tater tots contains 160 calories and 8 grams of fat. I’m not sure how these compare, but they were delicious!

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Best eaten while they’re still hot!