Like gnudi, gnocchi are dumplings. But potatoes are the primary ingredient instead of cheese and eggs. They are delicious when served with spinach wilted in oil with a touch of minced garlic and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This version includes chanterelles, which elevate any dish in my book.
This recipe is courtesy of Heartland: Farm-Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest cookbook by Lenny Russo and Burgess Lea Press.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes several times with a sharp knife. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Using a kitchen towel to avoid burning your hands, remove the skins while the potatoes are still warm. Pass the peeled potatoes through a food mill or ricer, and spread out on a wooden board. Sift together the flour, salt and nutmeg, and spread evenly over the potatoes.
Gently incorporate the flour and seasonings into the riced potatoes, pressing the flour into the potatoes to form a mass. Do not knead it hard like bread; the gluten must not be developed in the flour lest the gnocchi be hard and chewy once cooked. Continue gathering the flour that falls off and pressing it into the potatoes until it creates a fairly cohesive mass.
Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Using the palms of your hand, roll the dough into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the logs into 1-inch pieces and dust with a little flour. Cook immediately or freeze until needed.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a deep saucepan over low heat. Thinly slice the chanterelles. Add to the butter and increase the heat to moderate. Cook the chanterelles for about 3 minutes or until they soften and release their liquor. Stir in the arugula and cook for a few seconds, just until wilted. Add the tomato concassée and cook until warmed through. Remove the pan from the heat and season the sauce with the salt and pepper. Keep warm.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and stir gently. They cook quickly: when they float to the surface, they’re done. Gnocchi are fragile, so use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to carefully remove them from the boiling water.
Transfer immediately to the sauce, top with grated Parmesan and serve right away. They are best when steaming hot.