Gnocchi and Tiny Meatballs with Creamy Parsley Pesto

By • March 3, 2013 • 3 Comments

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Author Notes: This is the time of year when potatoes in the root cellar start to sprout, and we wonder how we ever thought we might eat that many potatoes when we put them aside in the fall. If you don't have a root cellar, perhaps you have bought a 10# bag of russet potatoes, and observed the following: (a) they are extremely cheap, and (b) 10# is a LOT of potatoes.
This Italian style meat-and-potatoes dish is intended to use up stray extra ingredients and certainly fills any working man's (or woman's) belly!
red wheelbarrow produce

Serves 4

Gnocchi & Tiny Meatballs

  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, such as Russets
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound italian sausage

Creamy Parsley Pesto

  • 1 bunch parsley, or 1 bunch parsley stems plus a few leaves for color
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast if you don't have parm on hand
  • 1/3 cup nuts on hand; walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, or even sunflower seeds.
  • salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  1. For the gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the potatoes until they are tender, about 1 hour. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes.
  2. Pass the potatoes through a ricer or a food mill, or if you don't have those, press them through a fine mesh sieve. Spread out the potatoes as they are pressed, and allow them to cool in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle the potatoes wtth salt and with 1/2 cup of flour, and gently toss with your hands or a pastry scraper. Pour beaten eggs over the top, and cover with the rest of the flour. Toss and fold until well combined. Add flour until the dough is not sticky.
  4. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Cut the dough into long strips about 1/2 inch wide, and sprinkle them with flour so they don't stick together. Cut each rope into 3/4 inch pieces, sprinkling again with flour.
  5. If you have a gnocchi paddle, roll each gnocchi out on it. If you like, you can roll the gnocchi on a cutting board by pressing your thumb into each piece and quickly rolling it into a tube shape. Otherwise, leave them as is.
  6. While the gnocchi is resting, make the meatballs: Roll the sausage into tiny balls, about the diameter of a penny. I like to make them just a bit smalled than the gnocchi for the final dish, so that they don't overwhelm. Just remember that the gnocchi will swell to about twice its size when cooked. Brown in hot skillet until cooked through.
  7. For the Parsley Pesto: Roughly chop parsley stems and/or leaves. Blend in food processor, adding olive oil in a stream. Ass sunflower seeds, parmesan, and garlic. Blend until very smooth adding cream by the tablespoon until it is saucy. Season to taste. Wait until the last minute to add lemon juice, so the bright breen color does not fade.
  8. Simmer the gnocchi in salted water until every piece floats. Strain, mix with tiny meatballs, and toss with Creamy Parsley Pesto.
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over 1 year ago red wheelbarrow produce

Thanks for pointing out that the sausage wasn't on the recipe. That was a technical difficulty. Sorry!

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over 1 year ago red wheelbarrow produce

I used an Italian-style sausage that I made and froze. It had fennel as its dominating flavor, and was 100% pork. You can definitely play around with it though; using different herbs for the pesto and different sausage types will change it up nicely. I chose parsley because it's so cheap (which was the theme) but the possibilities are endless!

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over 1 year ago plainhomecook

Looks good - how much of what kind of sausage do you recommend?