Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paleo Gnocchi update

Even though there are a lot of really great recipes for grain-free bread, pizza and pasta, making them can sometimes be tricky.  Nut flours have different properties than wheat flour, and cooking with them can require a bit more explanation.

A while ago I received quite a few emails from people who were having problems with the pizza crust recipe so I did an update with step by step directions.  Now it seems that making gnocchi is also a problem for some, and I think some step by step directions are needed here as well.

So tonight I decided to make them for my dinner.  This was a last minute decision so I used Italian seasoning instead of the spinach puree I usually use, and just heated some Seeds of Change Vodka Americana sauce that I had in my pantry to go with them.  

With a green salad and a glass of wine, this is a perfect meal to satisfy that pasta craving, and I really want you all to be able to discover just how delicious this is, how quick and how easy. 

So this is for Hilary and all the rest of you gnocchi fans.  I hope these photos and extra directions help.

Ingredients :

-  3 large eggs, beaten
-  4 tablespoons of coconut flour
-  4 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese
-  1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
-  1/4 teaspoon salt
-  1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

Directions :

  • Blend the coconut flour and beaten eggs well, then add the Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt and mix well into a dough.  
  • If you are finding that your gnocchi fall apart when you cook them, the problem might be that you haven't incorporated the coconut flour in well enough.  Coconut flour does sometimes tend to clump, so you can try sifting it over your eggs a bit at a time and mixing it in that way.  
  • As you can see by the photo the dough should be reasonably stiff, but still a bit sticky.  If yours is too runny, add a bit more coconut flour until it looks more like this. However, don't make the mistake of adding too much too soon.  Coconut flour is very absorbent, so make sure you mix it for 2 or 3 minutes first and allow it to thicken before deciding to add more, otherwise your gnocchi will fall apart because they will be too dry.  

  • Unlike with regular flour, you can't over-mix this dough.  To begin with it will seem very wet, but as you gradually keep mixing it will thicken up.  Once it gets to this stage where it's starting to form a ball, then you know it's ready.

  • Working with a small portion at a time, roll the dough into 2 long sausage shapes. Wrap up with the clingfilm and place in the refrigerator. 
  • Chill the dough for a minimum of 30 minutes.  This step is very important.  Do NOT treat these like regular wheat flour gnocchi you can buy in a bag. They need to be cold to stick together. 30 minutes is the minimum and longer is better.  I usually make mine in the morning and chill until the evening, however in this example I only chilled them for an hour and they still worked well.  
  • Also, once you take them out to cook them, make sure you use them right away.  They need to still be cold when they hit the water.

  • The easiest way is to just slice and cook, and for this you need to chill the dough. But if you are prepared to do a bit more work, you can cook them right away without chilling. I was asked to make gnocchi tonight and I didn't have time to chill the dough, so I just rolled it into small balls (about 1/2 inch), flattened them a bit so they weren't too thick.  You have to do this carefully because they do tend to fall apart a bit, but the dough should be sticky enough to hold.  Once I formed them I cooked them right away and it worked perfectly.

  • Fill a saucepan with water, sprinkle in a little salt, and bring to a roaring boil. Meanwhile you can also put your sauce on to heat.
  • Once your water is boiling, remove one of the gnocchi sausages from the refrigerator and cut into small bite sized pieces. Don't make them too large because you want them to cook all the way through.  (I slice mine about half an inch thick.)

  • Place the pieces into the boiling water, two or three at a time so they don't stick together. (Depending on the size of your pot you will probably need to cook these in two batches.) When you first put the gnocchi into the water they will sink, but once they are cooked they will rise to the top.  I find mine cook quite quickly.
  • While they are cooking, do NOT stir them.  Coconut flour gnocchi are a lot more delicate than the ones made out of wheat.  Just leave them to cook.

  • Remove with a slotted spoon. 
  • Once the first pieces are cooked, take out the remaining dough, cut it and cook as above until all gnocchi are cooked.  As you can see in the photo, they will look like little dumplings.

Put your cooked gnocchi into a bowl and cover with sauce.  You can also add some chopped fresh basil and a bit more grated parmesan.

This will serve 3 or  4 people as a side dish with grilled chicken or meat.  Or you can have it as a meal for one as I did.  These gnocchi are very light, and after a meal of these you won't have that stuffed feeling you can often get after a regular pasta meal.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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  1. Wow, thank you for providing this recipe step-by-step. It looks really tasty!

    I am always on the lookout for healthy alternatives to family favorites. I cannot wait to try this out.

  2. excellent am cooking them today :D
    I made the dough two days ago and left it in the fridge.
    Can I free the dough?


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