Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus and Walnuts

May 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus and Walnuts

After much anticipation, local young asparagus is finally here. Quickly sauteed in lots of butter with salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, they are perfect. Tossed with plump, fluffy gnocchi and toasted walnuts is just icing on the cake.

Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus and Walnuts

I blogged about gnocchi about six months ago and I have since continued to make it every couple of months. The large difference between that recipe and today’s is the accompaniments: delicata squash was perfect for the autumn, while early asparagus must be utilized right now. Sage and asiago cheese added richness in that first recipe, as we needed comfort heading into the winter months, while toasted walnuts are all that is needed here to add a bit of crunch without compromising freshness. The less obvious but more important change here is the choice of flour. I attempted to use only whole wheat flour in October and chose white whole wheat which is lighter tasting than traditional whole wheat. The problem with this choice is that the white whole wheat flour doesn’t have the gluten levels found in a more processed flour. It still works in this recipe, but using some white flour (Bread flour or All-Purpose) with a bit of whole wheat flour will give you a fluffier and more satisfying dumpling.

Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus and Walnuts

These dumplings don’t make great leftovers, so try to make only what is needed. This recipe will serve four people.

1 year ago, today: Watercress and Potato Puree with Corn and Bacon

Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus and Walnuts:

- 1 lb + 6 oz russet potatoes, boiled, peeled and dried out in 300 degree F. oven for 10 minutes
- 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried ground sage
- 4 oz flour – I used 3 oz bread flour and 1 oz whole wheat flour
- 4 oz walnuts (1 1/4 cup), roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 bunches asparagus, sliced on the bias 1″
- pinch red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper

Bring  a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and leave covered. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grate boiled and dried potatoes into a mixing bowl, adding salt, pepper and sage. Add flour while beginning to knead the dough and continue kneading until it comes together. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and then roll each piece into a long cylinder, penny-sized in diameter. Cut each cylinder into 1 inch pieces. Use a gnocchi paddle or two forks to make the characteristic indentations and set aside briefly without letting them stick to the surface or each other using a bit of flour. Toast walnuts in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Melt half of the butter (1/4 cup) in a saute pan or cast iron skillet on  a medium high heat. Briefly saute the asparagus with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper so they soften slightly but remain bright green. Transfer to a serving bowl along with the toasted walnuts while you cook the gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water in batches (the size recipe should fit in a large dutch oven in one batch but breaking it up into 2 or 3 batches won’t take much longer). Melt the remaining butter in the saute pan over a medium low heat. As the gnocchi float to the surface, scoop them in fine meshed sieve and sear in the butter in batches. Toss gnocchi with asparagus and walnuts and serve.

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