gnoc·chi/ˈnäkē/ Noun: (in Italian cooking) Small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour, usually served with a sauce.

I was introduced to Gnocchi through my husband. It’s one of his favorite Italian dishes to order while we are dining out – and before him – I had never tried it. Recently, I made it at home for the very first time, and I wanted to share with you my experience.

Before reading any further, please be aware that this is a ‘Semi-homemade’ recipe post. The Gnocchi with Vodka Cream sauce Recipe included instructions to make the Gnocchi from scratch, however, I opted to purchase pre-made gnocchi and only make the vodka cream sauce from scratch.

The sauce turned out so wonderfully, that I am eager to take the plunge and make the gnocchi from scratch too! Stay tuned for that ‘How To’ coming in the future. Take a look below for step by step instructions to make a flavorful and rich vodka cream sauce from scratch that can be served with gnocchi, spaghetti, or any other type of pasta that suites you best!

In order to make the Vodka Cream Sauce, you’ll need to start by making a tomato sauce.

Gabriel’s Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces canned or fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gabriel’s Tomato Sauce Directions:

  • Puree whole tomatoes without their liquid in a food mill. (I used a blender)
  • Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes & basil
  • Season with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce is concentrated, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove the basil and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Yield: 2 cups

Once you have your base tomato sauce made, you can move onto putting together the actual vodka cream sauce.

Vodka Cream Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon vodka (I used Stoli)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 cup Gabriel’s Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic (Added by Amanda, not in original recipe!)
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms (Added by Amanda, not in original recipe!)

Vodka Cream Sauce Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften. (I added garlic and mushrooms too!)
  • Add the vodka, cream, and tomato sauce, and simmer until the flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes.

Gnocchi Instructions & Ingredients:

  • I purchased pre-made gnocchi and cooked in boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until the gnocchi floated to the top of the water.

Notes / room for improvements:

  • After following the instructions to the vodka cream sauce, the sauce didn’t look creamy enough to me. I added an additional two tablespoons of heavy cream to my sauce.
  • Even after adding the additional cream, my dear husband critiqued that the sauce was still too thin.
  • Next time I might try leaving chucks of tomatoes in the tomato sauce and/or letting the sauce stand a while longer to thicken before serving it.

All in all, this was a wonderful and simple recipe to make from home, especially because it was semi homemade! Can’t wait to make the gnocchi from scratch….yum yum!

Article by : Amanda Hoffman

Gourmet Italian 2011

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