Recipes from Chef Laura Doyle of Lavender Bergamot Kitchen for potato gnocchi and spring vegetables in a lemon primavera sauce.
2 lbs whole russet potatoes (3-4)
2 beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut the potatoes in half and rub all over with salt and olive oil. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
While the potatoes cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. You want the potatoes to still be pretty hot when you work with them but you don’t want to burn your hands. I find it easiest to hold the potato half in a tea towel and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You also want to process the potatoes while hot so the most water will escape as steam.
Scoop the potato from the skin and mash very well. The best tool for this is a ricer or a food mill but a fork will work just fine. Try and make sure there are as few lumps as possible.
Sprinkle the counter with flour and spread the hot potato out. Pour over the egg yolks and sprinkle on the salt and 1 cup of the flour. Use a pastry cutter to cut the flour and egg into the potato without developing any gluten. Once the dough is more or less uniform, switch to a bench scraper and use that to gather the dough into a loose pile. Use your hands to gently fold and press the dough, incorporating the last of the flour, until soft and supple. Try not to over mix or knead.
When the dough feels like it is holding together, pat it into a log, dusting it well all over with flour. Let it rest for five minutes.
Break off a small piece and drop it in the boiling water. Let it cook until it rises to the surface, pull it out and eat it. It should be fluffy and a little bit chewy. If it is very dense, you have added too much flour. If it is mealy or has fallen apart in the water, you need to add more. It is really all up to your taste, some people really love the softest, fluffy gnocchi you can make, some love a bit of a chew.
Once the gnocchi tastes right to you, divide the dough into 4 pieces. One at a time, roll the pieces out into long snakes about an inch in diameter. Try not to press too hard, guide the dough rather than shaping. Cut off ½ – 1 inch pieces and toss with flour so they don’t stick together. If you want to give them ridges, roll each gnocchi down the back of a fork. You can also just use your finger to poke a divot in the center of each one. The point is to create surface texture that the sauce can sit in. If you are going to be freezing these for later use, spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze through. Transfer to a ziplock bag for storage.
Place about a quarter of the gnocchi at a time into the boiling water and let cook until they start to float. Once they have all risen to the surface, wait about 20 more seconds and carefully scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Transfer them directly to the sauce.
Lemon Primavera Sauce
¼ pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
½ pound asparagus, ends snapped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup fresh English peas
¼ cup thinly sliced spring onion,
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (if you can find spring garlic, use that here)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, more as needed
Black pepper, more as needed
½ cup crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest
⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano,
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more.
When the gnocchi is done cooking, scoop out 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the crème fraîche into the vegetables, along with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and lemon zest and bring to a simmer.
Add the gnocchi to the pan and toss well, adding more cooking liquid if the pan seems too dry. Right before removing from the heat, stir in the cheese, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.