Lessons from a Restaurant Chef: Hand Rolled Gnocchi

Today I am so pleased to have my very own brother, chef Ben Ashworth, guest blogging here at The Cottage Mama. Ben does not blog, but he is an extremely talented chef and I convinced him to share some of his cooking knowledge here with everyone. So here is the first ‘Lesson from a Restaurant Chef’ with Ben’s recipe for “Hand-Rolled Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Brussel Sprouts and Apples.” Please give my little brother a warm welcome. Take it away, Ben…….

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Hi, I’m Lindsay’s younger brother, Ben. I’m the sous chef at a farm-to-table restaurant in Boulder, CO called The Kitchen. At our restaurant, we make hand rolled potato gnocchi every day for our dinner menu. The concept is really simple and the technique of rolling the gnocchi by hand can be mastered after a little bit of practice. The dish I’m going to show you how to make is “Hand Rolled Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Brussel Sprouts and Apple.” Let’s get started!


Hand Rolled Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Brussel Sprouts and Apples
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
 
Ingredients
  • 8 russet potatoes
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • About 4 cups AP flour plus more for dusting
  • Whole or ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Oil for searing the gnocchi
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 2-3 fuji apples or other sweet red variety
  • 2 fresno chilis
  • ½ pound whole, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, picked not chopped
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse and dry the russet potatoes. Set on a baking sheet and season heavily with kosher salt. Once the oven is heated, place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake the potatoes in the oven until knife-tender, about one hour. While the potatoes are baking, prepare the rest of the garnish for the dish.
  2. Start by preparing the brussel sprouts. For this dish, we are going to remove the leafs from the core of the brussel sprout and just serve them with the gnocchi. You can reserve the core of the brussel sprouts for another time and prepare them just like you would a normal brussel sprout, fried, sautéed, roasted, etc. To remove the leafs, take a pairing knife cut the core off of the bottom of the brussel sprout. Then, one at a time, while holding in your hand, cut about a quarter of the way into the brussel sprout. Then make a motion with the knife like you are peeling an apple and work the knife around the core of the brussel sprout, just taking off the outer leafs. Once all of the leafs are removed, you may need to separate them a little bit from each other because they tend to be sort of woven together.
  3. Next, rinse and dry the apples. Core the apple and then cut into a small to medium dice. You do not need to peel the apples. Once finished, store the apples in lightly acidulated water to prevent oxidation and browning.
  4. Finally, cut the fresno chilies into a small dice. To do this, cut the bottom and the top off of the chili. Next, make a vertical cut down one side of the pepper from the top to bottom. Open up the pepper where you made the cut and it should unroll flat onto the countertop. Remove the seeds and other stringy, white parts on the inside. Then, cut the pepper into thin strips, or julienne. Next, group the julienne peppers together and cut them into a small dice, or brunoise. Set all these ingredients aside and prepare to make the gnocchi.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so. Next, take a knife and cut the potatoes in half. If you have a ricer, I would recommend using that, but for this demonstration, I mashed the potatoes by hand with a potato masher. Take the potatoes and scoop the flesh into the ricer or bowl, depending on what you’re using. Be careful, the potatoes will still be hot. Once all of the flesh is scooped out, either pass it through the ricer or mash it as fine as possible.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together your whole egg and egg yolks. Bring all of the potato together in a large mixing bowl. Season the potato with salt and grated nutmeg. Make a small well in the potatoes and dust liberally with flour. Add the eggs to the well and dust again with flour.
  7. Take some of the potato from the sides of the mound and cover the well containing the eggs. Dust heavily with flour and begin cutting in the flour using a dough cutter or bench scraper. Continue to add flour as the dough starts to come together. Once the dough has started to come together as one single mass, transfer it to the countertop and begin to knead the dough. By this time, you want to have added all of the flour you’re using in the dough (About 3-4 cups, reserve some flour for dusting the countertop while rolling the gnocchi). Every potato is different as far as moisture content, so the amount of flour needed will vary each time. Anyway, continue to knead the dough for about five minutes or until all of the flour is well incorporated, the texture of the dough is dry to slightly tacky, and the dough moves as one solid mass.
  8. Now for the fun part, rolling the gnocchi. You will need a decent amount of counter space to roll these guys out in a timely fashion. Move your dough out of the way of where you are going to be rolling the dough. Take a bench scraper, cut off a small portion of dough and lightly dust it with flour.
  9. Using both of your hands, gently apply some pressure to the portion of dough and begin to roll the dough back and forth. As you apply pressure and roll the dough, it will start to get thinner and more cylindrical. As different sections of the dough become thinner than others, move your hands to that thicker section and repeat the same motion in order to make whole line of dough as uniform as possible. Once the first line of gnocchi is complete, move it to the bottom of the work space and continue the same process until you have four to six lines lined up together.
  10. Next, using your bench scraper, cut the lines of gnocchi down into small dumpling sized pieces. Dust heavily with flour and toss the cut gnocchi around to coat evenly and to prevent sticking. Store on a well dusted baking sheet until ready to cook. Repeat this process until you have rolled and cut all of the dough into gnocchi.
  11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with kosher salt. Once at a rapid boil, in batches, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water. Once the gnocchi float to the surface of the water, remove them with a large slotted spoon and transfer to and oiled baking sheet, tossing to coat.Repeat this process until all gnocchi have been blanched. At this point, you have successfully hand rolled gnocchi! We’re going to take it a step further and sear our gnocchi in order to add some caramelization and texture to the pasta.
  12. To finish, you will need a large skillet and a non-stick, ovenproof pan for searing the gnocchi. Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ¼ pound of butter and allow to brown. As soon as the butter is brown, add the brussel sprout leaves.Season with salt and allow the leaves to fry and develop good color and caramelization, about 2 minutes. Next, add the fresno chilies and continue to cook one minute. Add the heavy cream and reduce slightly.
  13. Preheat the non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Add some of the remaining butter to the pan and wait for the butter to melt and foam up. At this point, working in batches and not crowding the pan, sear the gnocchi in the butter. Once the gnocchi start to develop color, transfer the pan to the oven for one minute. At this point, the egg in the gnocchi dough will cause them to soufflé and puff up, becoming lighter and more delicate in texture.
  14. Remove the gnocchi from the oven and transfer to the brussel sprout cream sauce. Check that the sauce is seasoned well and finish with lemon juice to taste. To serve, plate the gnocchi in a flat layer and finish with diced apples, parmesan, whole leaf parsley and olive oil.

 

Instructions:

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

To begin, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, then rinse and dry the russet potatoes. Set on a baking sheet and season heavily with kosher salt. Once the oven is heated, place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. The reason that we put so much salt on the potatoes while they bake is that the salt will draw out more moisture from the potato, making the dough easier to work with later on. Bake the potatoes in the oven until knife-tender, about one hour. While the potatoes are baking, prepare the rest of the garnish for the dish.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Start by preparing the brussel sprouts. For this dish, we are going to remove the leafs from the core of the brussel sprout and just serve them with the gnocchi. You can reserve the core of the brussel sprouts for another time and prepare them just like you would a normal brussel sprout, fried, sautéed, roasted, etc. To remove the leafs, take a pairing knife cut the core off of the bottom of the brussel sprout. Then, one at a time, while holding in your hand, cut about a quarter of the way into the brussel sprout. Then make a motion with the knife like you are peeling an apple and work the knife around the core of the brussel sprout, just taking off the outer leafs. Once all of the leafs are removed, you may need to separate them a little bit from each other because they tend to be sort of woven together.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Next, rinse and dry the apples. Core the apple and then cut into a small to medium dice. You do not need to peel the apples. Once finished, store the apples in lightly acidulated water to prevent oxidation and browning.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Finally, cut the fresno chilies into a small dice. To do this, cut the bottom and the top off of the chili. Next, make a vertical cut down one side of the pepper from the top to bottom. Open up the pepper where you made the cut and it should unroll flat onto the countertop. Remove the seeds and other stringy, white parts on the inside. Then, cut the pepper into thin strips, or julienne. Next, group the julienne peppers together and cut them into a small dice, or brunoise. Set all these ingredients aside and prepare to make the gnocchi.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so. Next, take a knife and cut the potatoes in half. If you have a ricer, I would recommend using that, but for this demonstration, I mashed the potatoes by hand with a potato masher. Take the potatoes and scoop the flesh into the ricer or bowl, depending on what you’re using. Be careful, the potatoes will still be hot. Once all of the flesh is scooped out, either pass it through the ricer or mash it as fine as possible.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

In a separate bowl, whisk together your whole egg and egg yolks. Bring all of the potato together in a large mixing bowl. Season the potato with salt and grated nutmeg. Make a small well in the potatoes and dust liberally with flour. Add the eggs to the well and dust again with flour.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Take some of the potato from the sides of the mound and cover the well containing the eggs. Dust heavily with flour and begin cutting in the flour using a dough cutter or bench scraper. Continue to add flour as the dough starts to come together. Once the dough has started to come together as one single mass, transfer it to the countertop and begin to knead the dough. By this time, you want to have added all of the flour you’re using in the dough (About 3-4 cups, reserve some flour for dusting the countertop while rolling the gnocchi). Every potato is different as far as moisture content, so the amount of flour needed will vary each time. Anyway, continue to knead the dough for about five minutes or until all of the flour is well incorporated, the texture of the dough is dry to slightly tacky, and the dough moves as one solid mass.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Now for the fun part, rolling the gnocchi. You will need a decent amount of counter space to roll these guys out in a timely fashion. Move your dough out of the way of where you are going to be rolling the dough. Take a bench scraper, cut off a small portion of dough and lightly dust it with flour.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Using both of your hands, gently apply some pressure to the portion of dough and begin to roll the dough back and forth. As you apply pressure and roll the dough, it will start to get thinner and more cylindrical. As different sections of the dough become thinner than others, move your hands to that thicker section and repeat the same motion in order to make whole line of dough as uniform as possible. Once the first line of gnocchi is complete, move it to the bottom of the work space and continue the same process until you have four to six lines lined up together.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Next, using your bench scraper, cut the lines of gnocchi down into small dumpling sized pieces. Dust heavily with flour and toss the cut gnocchi around to coat evenly and to prevent sticking. Store on a well dusted baking sheet until ready to cook. Repeat this process until you have rolled and cut all of the dough into gnocchi. We’re almost finished!

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with kosher salt. Once at a rapid boil, in batches, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water. Once the gnocchi float to the surface of the water, remove them with a large slotted spoon and transfer to and oiled baking sheet, tossing to coat.Repeat this process until all gnocchi have been blanched. At this point, you have successfully hand rolled gnocchi! We’re going to take it a step further and sear our gnocchi in order to add some caramelization and texture to the pasta.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

To finish, you will need a large skillet and a non-stick, ovenproof pan for searing the gnocchi. Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ¼ pound of butter and allow to brown. As soon as the butter is brown, add the brussel sprout leaves.Season with salt and allow the leaves to fry and develop good color and caramelization, about 2 minutes. Next, add the fresno chilies and continue to cook one minute. Add the heavy cream and reduce slightly.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Preheat the non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Add some of the remaining butter to the pan and wait for the butter to melt and foam up. At this point, working in batches and not crowding the pan, sear the gnocchi in the butter.  Once the gnocchi start to develop color, transfer the pan to the oven for one minute. At this point, the egg in the gnocchi dough will cause them to soufflé and puff up, becoming lighter and more delicate in texture.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Remove the gnocchi from the oven and transfer to the brussel sprout cream sauce. Check that the sauce is seasoned well and finish with lemon juice to taste. To serve, plate the gnocchi in a flat layer and finish with diced apples, parmesan, whole leaf parsley and olive oil.

Lessons from a Restaurant Chef. Hand Rolled Gnocchi. www.thecottagemama.com

Enjoy!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Ben! Wasn’t that fun getting to see how they make these delicious tasting dishes in the restaurant? I know I’m going to give this recipe a try, for sure! It’s so special to have my little brother here sharing with you all. And guess what, I’ve got a post from Grandma Jane (our mom) coming up soon too. It’s a family affair here on The Cottage Mama!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great day!

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10 Comments

  1. This is looks so yummy!

  2. Way to go Chef Ben. I KNOW you are an amazing Chef. Makes my mouth water looking at the finished product!!!

  3. Yum! Now I’m hungry. I’m going to try this with gluten free flour, I’ll come back and let you know the results!

  4. I need FedEx delivery, please.

  5. My mouth is literally drooling right now. Your entire family never ceases to amaze me!!!

  6. Oh YUM!!

  7. holy moley I’m totally drooling. i’ve been wanting to try making gnocchi forever and this recipe looks amazing! I’m excited for more of these “lessons” oh yum.

  8. great post! this looks so good and so fancy!

  9. this is definitely a few levels above my usual dinners; it looks super delicious!

  10. oh my! I can’t wait to try this; it looks sooo delicious!