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Gnocchi with Red Pepper Wine Sauce


Our chef, Mattia La Monica, has poured some red wine for us to enjoy while we knead and gently roll homemade gnocchi. The wine and the Italian music create a mood that is inducive to learning, and I feel like I’m in someone’s home kitchen, admiring the large pots hanging from the ceiling and enjoying the aroma of artichokes simmering on the stove and red peppers charring in the oven.

Homemade Italian gnocchi is a bit lighter than the store-bought American variety with which most of us are familiar. The secret to this lighter version is incorporating the flour and potatoes slowly and then chilling the dough. The chef used a locally grown potato that looks similar to Yukon Gold. (Idaho potatoes are too dense for this recipe.)


Prepare the Gnocchi

1. In a bowl, gently mix one cup flour with mashed potatoes. Use your hands to knead the dough, adding the remaining quarter-cup flour gradually until the dough becomes soft and fluffy. Form into a ball and place in freezer for half an hour.
2. Once fully chilled, cut dough into four pieces. Roll each piece with your hands into a thin log, about three-quarter inches thick and 12 inches long. Cut into three-quarter-inch pieces, or to whatever size you like. They should resemble small pillows. Refreeze gnocchi until ready to cook.
3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Drop gnocchi into water and boil for about three to four minutes. Use a mesh spider strainer to gently remove gnocchi. Top with sauce and shaved Parmesan, if using, and serve.

Prepare the Red Pepper Sauce

1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about five minutes.
2. Add peppers and garlic and cook until softened, about five minutes more.
3. Add crushed red pepper, tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for five minutes.
4. Add balsamic vinegar, one-third cup water and salt and cook for five more minutes. Cool slightly. Add basil. Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth.


Photo and Styling by Chay Berger