Gnocchi With Luxurious Pomodoro From 'Simple Pasta'

November  2, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by Graydon Herriott
  • Prep time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

“I had my first bowl of potato gnocchi at Old Papa’s Cafe in Fremantle, Western Australia. This port town was a hub for many Italians seeking a new beginning after World War II. The café was opened in the late 1960s by a Sicilian-born emigrant who re-created the Italian alfresco street cafés of his childhood. What started as a dingy dive, where patrons gambled and sat ringside watching the occasional boxing match, turned into a beloved institution. Italians owned and ran delicatessens, greengrocers, butchers, and barbershops throughout Freo. I was a pimply teenager when we moved to the isolated west coast and I lapped up the freedom this small village enabled. When we weren’t trying to sneak into the pubs, underage, I used to meet my friends for pasta or coffee at Old Papa’s. On the blisteringly hot summer nights, they served ice-cold lemon granita that quenched our thirst while we waited for the cooling sea breeze, known as the Fremantle Doctor, to arrive. But back to the gnocchi. I can still vividly recall that very first bite. Even in the dead of summer, it hit the spot, served with a simple tomato sauce (as pictured) in a hand-painted Maiolica ceramic bowl. Each table had a generous serving of grated pecorino that you could keep adding, which I did again and again, before I mourned the last gnocchi. If I can get you to make just one thing in this book, it is this recipe—it’s so simple. You’ll never tire of it. In fact, I’m betting it will become a dinner staple.” —Reprinted with permission from Simple Pasta by Odette Williams, copyright (c) 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photographs copyright © Graydon Herriott —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Gnocchi with Luxurious Pomodoro
  • 1 recipe Potato Gnocchi (see below) or 1½ to 1¾ pounds store-bought potato gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
  • Potato Gnocchi
  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour or tipo 00 flour
  1. Gnocchi with Luxurious Pomodoro
  2. Make the pomodoro: In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the anchovies to the skillet and cook them slowly, mashing with a wooden spoon until they melt into the oil. (Don’t let the oil get too hot or it will fry the anchovies rather than melt them.)
  3. Add the garlic and oregano to the anchovies and sauté for a few minutes. (Get your face in there and take a whiff of that glorious aroma.)
  4. Finally, add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with the salt and pepper, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve while warm, or let cool and then keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  5. To serve: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add half the gnocchi and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or according to package instructions if using store-bought. When they float to the surface, it’s a good indication they’re done. Pop one in your mouth to make sure it’s cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked gnocchi into the warm sauce. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
  1. Potato Gnocchi
  2. In a large wide pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover them (you’ll also cook the gnocchi in this pot). Bring to a boil and cook until a sharp knife poked into a potato meets only a little resistance, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove the potatoes from the water and, when cool enough to handle, remove the skins.
  3. Using a ricer, box grater, or Microplane, pass or grate the potatoes into a fine consistency, making sure there are no lumps. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet to dry out and cool a little.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, egg, pecorino, salt, and pepper. Gradually add the flour and use your hands to combine everything and bring the dough together.
  5. Place the dough on a clean, dry, lightly floured work surface and knead just until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. If the dough feels a little sticky, add a bit more flour. If you won’t be rolling out immediately, cover with a piece of plastic wrap.
  6. Dust a large baking sheet with flour. Lightly flour a large wooden cutting board or work surface. Take a small piece of dough and roll it into a snake about 3⁄4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the snake into pieces about a thumb’s width. (If you’d like to give your gnocchi a little flair, roll the cut pieces along the tines of a gnocchi paddle or a fork.) Place the gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  7. If cooking within a couple of hours, leave the baking sheet on the counter. To store, freeze in a single layer of gnocchi on the baking sheet, transfer the frozen pasta to a ziplock bag or airtight container, and freeze for about 1 month. To cook, don’t defrost, just boil frozen; otherwise, they will fall apart.

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