Potato gnocchi with a cauliflower truffle cream sauce is purely indulgent. Personally, I cannot resist any kind of gnocchi but this dish is truly high on the list of my all-time favorites. There are a few key things you must know about making these puffy potato pillows of joy! First of all, I always bake the potatoes, never boil them; I learned this trick while working in Northern Italy. Baking develops a much tastier potato. More importantly, the potatoes are not waterlogged so you need less flour when making the dough. The result is much lighter and more delicious gnocchi with a true potato taste.
Secondly, always make the gnocchi dough while the potatoes are still warm; the potatoes will mash easily and become fluffy with no lumps. Fluffy mashed potatoes are essential to light gnocchi. The warm potatoes will incorporate easily and evenly with the remaining ingredients. Thirdly, you do not want to over mix the dough, which will develop too much gluten and create heavy, chewy gnocchi. That’s a no-no!
Try making some delectable potato gnocchi with the tips I just shared with you. Dive into the recipe below with the cauliflower truffle cream sauce. It’s one heavenly way to eat potatoes (and cauliflower)!
Potato Gnocchi (serves 4-6)
- 1 pound Russet potatoes (or your favorite baking potato)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup all-purpose flour ( plus a tad more for dusting)
- Salt, white pepper, and nutmeg, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 °F
- Wash potatoes and dry them. Cut a large enough piece of tin foil to wrap the potatoes in. Place the tin foil on a baking tray then sprinkle the bottom with a liberal amount of salt (I like coarse salt such as kosher).
- Wrap the potatoes and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes or until a pointed knife can easily pierce to the center of the potato.
- Let cool until they can be handled. Working with a slightly hotter to handle potato is even better.
- Peel all the potatoes and pass through a ricer, food mill, or use an old-fashioned potato masher.
- Now add the flour, eggs, and cheese to the mashed potatoes. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two even portions.
- Combine each portion to form a homogeneous dough, do not over mix. This should only take a minute or so.
Tip: Make small amounts of the dough like this by hand. An electric mixer can overwork small amounts.
Cut long pieces about 3/4 of an inch thick. Gently roll them out to form long ropes.
Do this with the entire amount of dough (use a light dusting of flour on your work surface if it becomes sticky). Cut a piece about an index finger width and pinch gently to form a dimple.
I personally prefer this method. It is faster and less messy. If you want to take out your gnocchi board or use the back of a fork that’s always great too. But, if you’re pressed for time, the dimple method works fine and the end result is equally delicious.
Tip: Gnocchi will freeze well up to 3 weeks.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. (I use 2-3 tablespoons.)
- Once they float and rise to the top, they are done.
- Drain well and add to your sauce.
Cauliflower and Truffle Cream Sauce
1 large head of cauliflower, cleaned. Remove outer leaves and stalk.
- 1/2 a potato, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or unsalted chicken stock.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream ( a little more if needed to cover all the cauliflower).
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Truffle oil and truffle slices to garnish. (I used canned truffle pieces.)
- Sauté the onion lightly in the butter for about 2 minutes (no color). Add the cauliflower, potato, and bay leaf.
- Cover all with the stock and cream and bring to a simmer.
- Cook uncovered for about 20-30 minutes. Or until the vegetables are very tender and the liquid has thickened.
- Let the sauce cool slightly, remove the bay leaf, and puree in a blender.
- Blend with the Parmesan cheese, add a little water or stock if too thick.
- Reserve the sauce for the gnocchi.
Once the gnocchi is cooked add them directly to a pan with the hot sauce. Toss well to coat the gnocchi with the cauliflower sauce. Spoon the gnocchi onto serving dishes and drizzle with the truffle oil and add a few dollops of truffle puree. Serve immediately.