until not too long ago, foods like passover noodles were just not available or even imagineable. noodles, or lokshen as they are called in yiddish, where limited to ones made from eggs and were not store-bought. they were made like you would do for a very, very thin omelette, rolled up and cut into pinwheels. these home-style were, and still are, served in soup in place of or alongside matzo balls. due to innovation and market demand, i'm sure, new products such as passover pastas and cereal have become easily accessible in grocery stores stocking passover goods. personally, i find it a bit strange to be a consumer of these things since the point of the holiday is to rid oneself from even possessing these items, whether they are kosher or not for passover use. in any event, it's not in my family tradition to use such foods so i refrain from doing so.
why am i telling you this, you ask?
a little while back, i was kindly invited by ruth of once upon a feast to participate in an event she is hosting called presto pasta nights. unfortunately, at the time she first wrote, i was inundated with life's "stuff" and had no time whatsoever to contribute. this, added to the current getting everything ready for the huge passover holiday, left me with little time to breathe let alone blog [ergo my lapse in posting the past several weeks].
additionally, i was faced with a little dilemma as ruth was looking for something from me that could be made during passover. what was the dilemma? well, i don't use pasta ever during the holiday! i did not want to say anything at the time — i wanted to see if i could come up with an alternative and i think i did. this should help those who do not use pasta for passover or cannot find it locally.
so without further ado, i'm offering a much loved "pasta" popular in many parts of the world which is acceptable for the pessah holiday.
potato gnocchi for passover
making gnocchi is easy and fun. it may take a bit of practice at first but the steps are quickly learned. as i don't have time to post pictures for the recipe itself right now, you can follow the steps here to see how to do it yourself. have fun! you can use their recipe for a non-passover version. michael chiarello also has a nice non-passover version with pictures on his great site , napa style.
3 floury potatoes, medium sized
1/3 c matzo cake meal
1/2 c potato starch
1 large egg
bake the potatoes well wrapped in tin foil until they are done. pierce the potatoes several times before wrapping them. once they cool down a bit, either mash or rice them. it takes about 50 minutes for them to bake @ 350 F.
you can also boil potatoes until they test cooked with a fork [usually 15-20 minutes]. drain them and let cool a bit. peel them while still warm and mash or rice them.
what's the difference? the baked ones make for a better gnocchi as there is less water content.
place the mashed potatoes on some flat surface dusted with potato potato starch.
make a well in center of potatoes and add the potato starch and cake meal. add the egg and some salt. with a fork beat the egg in the center to scramble it up. don't let it overflow or run out of the center.
with your hands, incorporate the ingredients by knead the dough until it is soft and not overly sticky.
at this point, the dough needs to rest. cover it and leave it for about 30 minutes.
divide the dough into four parts.
roll each part into a long, cigar shape, which is about 3/4 of an inch thick.
with a knife and some potato flour [should the dough still be sticky], cut the dough in 1/2 inch pieces.
take a piece of dough against your index finger and with the fork in the other hand, press down slightly on each one with the tines to give the typical gnocchi indentations. the gnocchi should roll as you do this [see the tutorial i mention above for a visual explanation and the finished product or the video below]. this gives you an indentation and gives the ridges, both of which help the pasta to cook faster and provide a place for the sauce to pool. don't get frustrated, it takes practice! they will still taste amazing even it they don't all come out perfectly.
cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. they will cook quickly but wait a good minute or so once they rise to the surface of the water.
remove drain them well once they are cooked.
serve with your favourite tomato sauce. here and here are two basic sauces.
these can also be simply sauteed in olive oil [or butter or a combination of the two] with garlic and chopped basil leaves and then seasoned with salt and pepper.
VideoJug: How To Make Gnocchi