Making your own gnocchi from scratch is not as difficult as you would think. You mash some potatoes, add some eggs and flour, roll it all into a ball of dough…. OK, maybe making gnocchi can be as difficult as you think. But sometimes you just want to make pasta from scratch. And your Instagram account might just light up in the process. On that note, enter broccoli gnocchi. What? When you replace those potatoes with the stems of broccoli, things are just interesting. This creative gnocchi recipe from Jessica Goldman Foung’s book Low-So Good is now one of our favorites. Of course, the broccoli florets won’t go to waste in this recipe. They’re sautéed in butter and added to a lemon cream sauce for a solid weeknight dinner.
Broccoli Gnocchi With Lemon Cream Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups [240 g] roughly chopped broccoli stems, plus 3 cups [180 g] roughly chopped broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup [60 ml] lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups [180 g] all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons [45 g] unsalted butter
½ cup [120 ml] heavy cream
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or dust lightly with flour.
2. In a food processor (or blender), combine the broccoli stems, garlic, black pepper, and lemon juice. Purée until the broccoli mixture is smoothish, stopping to scrape down the bowl and adding 1 tablespoon water if needed to loosen. Transfer the purée to a medium bowl. Add the flour,¼ cup [30 g] at a time, stirring until well combined after each addition. When ready, the dough will feel neither too sticky nor too flaky, just soft and pliable.
3. With floured hands, shape the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough ball into four even sections. Working with one section at a time, roll out the dough into a long rope about ½ inch [12 mm] thick. Use a knife to cut the dough rope into ½-inch [12-mm] pieces. Place the tines of a fork on top of each dough piece, one at a time, and pull the fork toward you, gently rolling the gnocchi onto itself, making little grooves. Place the finished gnocchi in the prepared baking pan. (At this point, you can dust the gnocchi with flour and put in the freezer. When they harden, transfer to resealable plastic bags and freeze for up to 3 months.)
4. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water. Cook until the gnocchi rise to the top, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi and place in a dry baking pan or on a piece of parchment paper. Continue until all the gnocchi are cooked and well drained.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and add the broccoli florets to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, tossing frequently, until slightly softened and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
6. Add another 1 tablespoon butter to the sauté pan and melt over medium heat. Working in batches, add a layer of gnocchi and cook until browned and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan continuously so the gnocchi don’t stick. Add the cooked gnocchi to the serving bowl with the broccoli florets. Repeat until all the gnocchi are pan-fried, adding more butter to the pan and adjusting the heat as needed.
7. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute more. Pour the cream sauce directly into the serving bowl and stir gently to coat. Serve warm.
Variation: Want to keep things lighter? Use olive oil in place of the butter. And instead of the cream sauce, put ¼ to ½ cup [60 to 120 ml] crème fraîche or plain Greek yogurt in the serving bowl while you cook the broccoli. When you add the warm vegetables and pasta, the crème fraîche or yogurt will melt into a sauce. Sprinkle a little lemon zest on top and gently mix.
Excerpted from Low-So Good: A Guide to Real Food, Big Flavor, and Less Sodium With 70 Amazing Recipes by Jessica Goldman Foung, copyright © 2016, published by Chronicle Books. Photography copyright © 2016 by John Lee.