Gnocchi with asparagus and peas salad, delicate pillowy soft buttery potato gnocchi with crunchy green vegetables, a perfect spring salad.
If you do not like the typical flour based pasta then the gnocchi will make you a convert because it is more like a soft cooked potato slightly browned with butter.
What is Gnocchi ?
Gnocchi is a small dumpling made with potato, all purpose flour and egg. Gnocchi just like pasta by itself has no flavor but holds sauces and absorbs flavors well that makes it a perfect addition to any salad. It is available ready-made in most grocery stores and helps in making dinner easily on a busy weeknight.
Points to remember when making gnocchi :
- Use russet potatoes - it is starchy, dry and fluffy inside when cooked , the exact texture we are looking for while making gnocchi.
- Steam the potatoes without toughing water and cut the potato immediately into halves after cooking let the steam escape all this this reduces moisture content and subsequently adding less flour for kneading resulting in a lighter gnocchi.
- Mash the potatoes while they are hot - It should be completely mashed not pasted in a food processor. Use a ricer for best results as it will be aerated better.
- Gnocchi is a sticky dough but the lesser you knead it the lighter it will be.
- The more you knead the the denser the dough gets by strengthening the gluten content in it.
- The lesser the flour added the better the gnocchi turns.
- While shaping gnocchi running it on a fork to get the ridges helps in adhering more sauce and flavor into the gnocchi. The small the dumpling the faster it will cook and lighter it will be.
- Remember to cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling water. Cook in batches if you are making large batches to maintain the temperature of the water.
- Gnocchi can turn gloppy if it has too much flour. Leave it on a paper towel too after removing form boiling water to be on the safe side.
The secret of this gnocchi with asparagus and peas salad :
Texture of pillowy soft light gnocchi, perfectly crunchy crisp bright green Asparagus (not over cooked and limp)perfectly cooked sweet green peas. Very lightly spiced the flavors of butter fried potato and taste of the vegetable should stand out.
- Instead of gnocchi any cooked pasta of you choice could be used in this Recipe.
- Other crunchy veggies or mixed veggies like carrot beans and cauliflower could be used in this recipe. Remember to use fresh veggies for best flavors.
- Any ground meats or cured ones like prosciutto could be used along with veggies and gnocchi in this recipe
Storing gnocchi dumplings:
- Freeze the freshly made dumplings on a large plate or tray for an hour or two only once firm then remove from the refrigerator dust off excess flour and freeze in a ziplock bag unto 2 months.
- When preparing the frozen gnocchi add them in batches to boiling water so the temperature of water does not come down drastically and affect the cooking process.
Gnocchi with asparagus and peas salad
- 1 lb gnocchi (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 bunch Asparagus (15 -18 stalks)
- 1/2 cup Green peas Frozen
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese + more to garnish Grated
- 4 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1/2 tsp Freshly cracked pepper powdered
- 1-2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp Butter
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (half in salad half to garnish)
- Few sprigs Mint to garnish
- Salad greens of your choice for color
For making homemade gnocchi :
- 2 Russet potatoes
- 1-2 cups All purpose flour (For kneading and dusting)
- 1 Egg (For binding)
- Salt to taste
To make salad :
- Heat a large pot of water with salt when it reaches into a rolling boil add the gnocchi. Immediately stir so it does not stick to the bottom. As soon as the gnocchi rises to the surface and floats use a slotted spoon and remove it on to a paper towel lined plate.
- In the same boiling water add the cut pieces of asparagus and give it a minute as soon as the color changes to light green remove on to a plate
- Meanwhile heat a large pan add olive oil, when it heats up add the garlic chopped then add the 1/2 the butter allow this to melt then add the prepared gnocchi spread evenly in one layer. Keep on medium heat when the bottom browns a bit stir well add the remaining butter when it melts add the frozen peas cover and cook until peas is cooked ( takes 2 minutes)
- Stir once in between and add the salt and pepper . Mix well add the cooked asparagus saute for a minute add the parmesan cheese switch off heat. Serve immediately by garnishing with mint leaves and more cheese on top.
To make gnocchi :
- Immediately cut into two once it reaches bearable heat immediately peel and mash the potatoes either with a ricer or with a wooden roller. Do not put it in the food processor as it will make the potatoes sticky and starchy. Most of the moisture content needs to dry
- Into the mashed potatoes beat in one egg,add salt, add little flour and quickly but gently form a dough. A light and fluffy dough not a dense one like pizza's. Kneading should take only 30-40 seconds just to incorporate everything together.
- Use flour to dust and roll the dough into thin logs as seen in the video. Use a knife to cut into squares. Use a the tines of the fork to make ridges on the squares by pressing and rolling with your thumb.Put them on a flour dusted tray. Do not crowd the gnocchis as it will stick to each other. Dust more flour on top refrigerate for 10 -20 minutes so they firm up.
- Heat a large pot of water adding some salt when the water boils well then add the gnocchi. Stir once so it does not stick to the bottom. Gnocchis will sink to the bottom first then it will rise after 30 seconds. When gnocchis rise to the surface of the water immediately remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate with a paper towel, keep in a single layer
- Meanwhile get the salad ready.
Hope you give this gnocchi with asparagus and peas salad a try for this Easter or potluck parties.