Homemade Gnocchi in Pancetta Cream Sauce with Sautéed Broccolini
An incredibly decadent and filling play on the great is-it-pasta-is-it-potato debate. I admit–the perfection of this recipe sort of came way by accident. I was attempting to make a play on gnocchi utilizing a red beetroot reduction… and that’s when I learned just HOW MUCH flour actually goes into this thing.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 15minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1hour 45minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 15minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1hour 45minutes
Ingredients
Gnocchi Dough
Pancetta Cream Sauce
Instructions
Make That Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Wash and dry russet potatoes whole. Place straight on oven rack and bake until soft, approximately 45 minutes.
  2. Be sure to use only russet potatoes for this recipe–as many gnocchi purists have it, russets have proven to serve best in a gnocchi dough due to their minimal water content and high starch levels. This helps create a dough, and consequently a gnocchi, that’s tender yet refrains to be gummy.
  3. Remove russets and place on a wire baking sheet to allow air to circulate. Slice potatoes in half vertically (careful they will be HOT). You can use tongs to hold the potatoes in place. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes so steam escapes and the potatoes continue to dry.
  4. Using a potato ricer, spread the potatoes even overly a lightly floured surface (to further allow the potatoes to steam and dry). You can also use the fine side of a cheese grater if you don’t have a ricer–it’s also a great forearm workout, believe me.
  5. Spread egg yolks evenly on top of riced potatoes. Using a sifter or sieve, sprinkle a generous amount of flour over top. (The sifter helps to distribute things evenly.) Don’t be nervous about adding too much flour–you’ll more than likely need more than you realize.
  6. Using a bench scraper, fold a large amount of the potato on top of the other half. (It’s not 100% necessary, but it does make things easier with how sticky things can get. It also ensures you won’t overwork the gluten in the APF to create a gummy gnocchi.) With your opposite hand, begin gently pressing the potato down on top of each other. Be sure to press straight down and not push out and to the side to cause things to slide. Continue to fold, cut, & scrape the potato until a dough begins to form. As things get sticky, be sure to add plenty more flour to the table or dough. It should appear like a traditional pasta dough and not be pasty or gummy. If it does, add more flour through a sifter a few tablespoons at a time.
Shape That Dough, Doe
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat on the stovetop.
  2. Shape the dough into a large log. Using the bench scraper, begin to shape your gnocchi by cutting the dough into approximately one to one-and-a-half inch bricks.
  3. Take a brick of the dough and make some snakes by rolling continually with the palms of your hands (and not fingertips). Be sure to keep the shape even throughout and flour as necessary. Cut the gnocchi into one inch pieces. Leave the pieces on a floured sheet pan or piece of parchment paper. Let rest. Test a piece of gnocchi for texture/consistency and boil in water. Do not form all your gnocchi until you’ve tasted to make sure enough flour is in the dough to allow the gnocchi to hold its shape. See the next step for more details.
  4. Test the consistency of the gnocchi by dropping a piece into the water for approximately 30 seconds. Once cooked, it will float to the top of the water. Use a steel spider or slotted skimmer to remove from the water. Taste to gauge texture. (If too gummy, don’t be afraid to go back to the dough and add more flour overall.) Do not cook the remaining gnocchi until the sauce is fully prepared.
  5. OPTIONAL: buy an eppicotispai (gnocchi board)–it’s a borderline unitasker that does nothing but ~slightly~ make your gnocchi look fancier. It’ll imprint some neat little lines in the dough…. and that’s about it. But hey, it’s fancy.
Get Lost in The Sauce
  1. Chop the pancetta into small, uniform pieces. Cook in a large saucepan over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crispy but not burnt, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta from pan and let rest over a paper towel.
  2. Add minced garlic until slightly browned and aromatic (approx. one minute).
  3. Remove the pan off heat, carefully add white wine (e.g. Chardonnay, etc.). The alcohol will burn off & smoke very quickly, be sure to watch for safety. Place the pan back over heat and allow the white wine to cook off into the rendered fat and garlic.
  4. After a few minutes, the wine & fat should have slightly thickened and turned a light brown color. Sautée the chopped broccolini in this liquid until slightly softened (it will continue to cook in the sauce, so it does not need to be sautéed for more than a minute or two).
  5. Add heavy cream to the pan, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add freshly grated pecorino romano & parmesan. Stir to incorporate. Crack several teaspoons worth of black pepper into the sauce (should be noticeable in the sauce when mixed). Allow sauce to thicken for 10-15 minutes. Taste the sauce & add salt if necessary.
Y’all Gno(cchi) What Time It Is
  1. Take several pieces of the gnocchi and add to the pot of boiling water. Gently stir the pot to create a slight whirlpool motion. As it cooks, the gnocchi will rise to the top of the water (approximately 30 seconds). Again, if the dough has enough flour it should come out whole and refrain from a gummy/loose texture. Immediately remove the gnocchi from the pot and incorporate into sauce.
  2. Dish pasta into a shallow bowl. Grate fresh parmesan over top of the gnocchi. Serve immediately and enjoy!