A recipe for homemade gnocchi with a bright and creamy sauce that answers the what to make with fennel question.
I’ve tried making gnocchi a few times in the past. Usually the recipes I find call for 2 eggs and the dough ends up far too sticky. I can’t get good pieces to form and they get very crumbly in the water while boiling. Add to it that I do not have the typical tools to mash a potato finely and, well, I’ve never wanted to share the results even with friends.
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But this winter/spring, I came up with several recipes and proto-recipes that work well with gnocchi, so I figured I had to get to it and find a good recipe I could make work. Masala Herb’s recipe only called for one egg to a similar quantity of potato/flour that other recipes had, so I thought I might have better luck. And it occurred to me that I could make the baked potato quite creamy in a food processor. Or, you know, make most of the recipe in a food processor to limit work. And it did! Perhaps not quite as soft and pillow-y as other recipes may advertise but was easy to work with and held its shape through boiling and pan frying.
Making the gnocchi is time consuming – mostly the shaping part, but it freezes really well. Typically I’ll make the gnocchi on a different day and bring it out when I need it. This recipe also makes about enough for 2 different meals for two people. Or enough for 4 people should you have more people to serve than I typically do.
The sauce came out of the question: “People get lots of fennel in farm boxes during late winter and spring, what can I make with fennel that isn’t raw in salads or roasted?”. Both of which I love, but can be limiting. Add some capers and some lemon and a bit of cream and you have a very different sauce for gnocchi (I’m sure it would work with other short pastas, but you probably would need to adjust the proportions a bit). And with the leftover tops from the fennel, you can make fennel syrup for cocktails. Speaking of farm boxes, you can still sign up for Eatwell Farm’s CSA boxes with a 15% discount on your first order using the code “twists”. Help out this blog and get fresh produce if you’re in the SF Bay Area!
Gnocchi in Fennel Caper Cream Sauce
- 1 lb/450g russet potatoes
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¾ - 2 c/210-240g all-purpose flour
- 1 med/100g spring onion
- 1 med/125g fennel
- 1 tbs/7g lemon zest
- 2 tsp/6g capers
- 2 tbs/30g butter
- ½ c/120ml cream
- 2 tbs/30ml lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 lb/450g gnocchi cooked
- Shaved parmesan optional
- Bake potatoes until soft. Once cool, peel.
- Pulverize in a food processor. Once smooth, add egg and salt.
- Add 1 ½ c flour and process to combine. If your food processor can handle it, add another ¼ c flour.
- Turn dough out onto well-floured surface. Kneed about 10 times until dough it smooth, adding more flour if still very sticky.
- Cut dough into 4 segments. Work one piece at a time, covering remaining pieces with a towel or plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Roll into a thin log and cut into tsp size segments.
- If desired, pieces can be processed further – rolling against a fork or grooved board to create ridges.
- Use immediately or freeze separately on a baking sheet before storing in a plastic freezer bag.
- To cook, heat a medium pot of water to boiling. Add 1 tsp salt and desired amount of gnocchi. Stir gently a couple times to ensure they do not stick to the bottom. Cook until gnocchi float to the surface. Drain.
- Cut onion into quartered horizontal segments (cut rounds across the grain, then cut those in ¼). Thinly slice fennel into 1/8th inch strips longitudinally.
- Heat butter in a large pan on med-high. Add cooked gnocchi. Brown the gnocchi for 1-2 minutes, until both sides are lightly coloured. Remove from pan, leaving excess butter.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute for 30 seconds. Add fennel, lemon zest, and capers. Continue cooking, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, until onion and fennel are just starting to soften.
- Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to med-low and add cream, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly for about 1 minute, until liquid has reduced slightly.
- Add back browned gnocchi and toss to coat in sauce. Serve with shaved parmesan if desired.