Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Chez Us has been invited to play along with the fine folks at Kitchen PLAY and Knuckle Salad during Munch Madness.  This fun event is being sponsored by United States Potato Board.  To familiarize you with Munch Madness, it is a bracketed playoff where eight food bloggers share their recipes to compete for the title of 2013 Munch Madness Champion (you can vote for Chez Us, too).  Their recipes will use potatoes to create healthy, light and fresh recipes that would be perfect for spring.  Not sure about you, but, we are so excited to see what everyone creates using one of our favorite ingredients!

Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Baking the potatoes in salt

Being a lover of food, I am often asked what I would want as a last meal.  I always say the same thing, creamy mashed potatoes.  I am a sucker for a big bowl of homemade mashed potatoes with a hunk of butter on top.  In fact, I am a sucker for any dish involving potatoes.  I am not biased, I love them roasted, baked, mashed, sautéed, raw, etc…. you get the picture.

Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Letting the potatoes cool

Unfortunately with all the fad diets out there, the potato has been given an unfavorable rap.  I admit I have fallen into some of these diet traps, but I never gave up the potato.  Honest.  After all, it is a vegetable, and vegetables are good for us.  Did you realize that one 5.3 ounce potato (considered medium in size) with the skin left on contains 45 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.  My grandmother always said to eat the skin of the potato, do not leave it!  That same medium potato has more potassium than spinach, broccoli or bananas.  And the best part for you calorie counters, there are 110 calories, no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Potatoes that have been processed in a food milll

Yes, potatoes are starchy, and they are carbs, but they are not unhealthy for you.  The USDA MyPlate.gov recommends that women aged 31 – 50, who get less then 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity should have 5 cups of starchy vegetables per week.  You can enjoy 1 cup of mashed, 1 medium baked or 20 french fried potatoes.    As well, potatoes are a carbohydrate, but they are a complex carbohydrate which is an excellent source of energy.  Your body needs this to push through the day or to help you ride that bike up the hill!  Much better for you than a sugary drink!  What makes  your dish or recipe “not healthy” is not the potato but what ingredients are used when cooking that potato.  If you pile on mounds of butter and sour cream, that is another issue.  For instance, when I make mashed potatoes, I use chicken stock or heart healthy olive oil to create a creamy texture, and they are just as good as mashing with cream or butter.

On of my new favorite ways to work with potatoes is by making gnocchi.  I had always been a bit timid to attempt this recipe, but, after buying many disappointing brands of pre-made gnocchi, I jumped in.  If Noona could do it, so could I.

Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Making gnocchi dough

The key to perfectly light gnocchi is the potato and how it is prepared.  I have tried using white potatoes as well as russets.  I find the russets work much better as they are starchier then others.  They also have a grainy and light texture, that is a bit drier than the creamy whites.  I tried a few different approaches from boiling and steaming of the potatoes, which I felt left the dough too moist,  and resulted in puddles of boiled gnocchi.  I tried adding more flour, but then the gnocchi came out heavy and gummy.  Then I read a tip that baking potatoes would produce a drier dough, which would make for a lighter gnocchi.  It worked brilliantly!

Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Finished gnocchi dough

I bake my potatoes in kosher salt, as the salt helps draw out unwanted moisture.  As soon as the baked potatoes come out of the oven, I immediately cut them in half, then let them sit at room temperature until I can handle them.  Cutting them in half helps the drying process.


Making Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce

Cutting the gnocchi

Once the potatoes are cool enough to hold, I run the cooked flesh through a food mill.  This is key.  I have tried mashing with a fork, but the texture does not come out as light as fluffy.  The next step is crucial;  adding the flour.  I use Italian 00 flour as the texture is lighter and I find it more flavorful.  If you cannot find this type of flour, regular all-purpose is fine.  You will need to run it through a sifter 3 times, and you will need a little less of it.  I add a little flour at a time to the potato/egg mixture;  you do not want the dough to be gummy.  After the dough is finished you will want to work quickly, by rolling the dough out and cutting into gnocchi.  The longer you let the dough sit, the harder it is to work with.  Be quick!


Making Making Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce


Making the gnocchi just takes patience.  It may take you a couple times before getting it just right.  Don’t give up, keep trying, it will be worth it.

With the essence of Spring in the air, I have been serving these pillowy gnocchi with a fresh pea and mint sauce. The sauce is lightly seasoned with a little lemon zest, chili flakes and parmesan cheese.  It really pairs perfectly with these little potato pillows to create a light and refreshing meal.

Did you like this recipe?  We’d be thrilled if you voted for Chez Us during Munch Madness.  Just click this link to be taken to the voting place.  Yep, it is that easy.  Thank you.

2013 Munch Madness: Potato Goodness voting ends at 11:00 PM on March 26, 2013. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 or older to enter. US residents only. One prize of $50 will be awarded randomly to all eligible voters. Winner must respond within 24 hours of being notified, at which time a new winner will be chosen. Additional rules and guidelines available at Kitchen PLAY. 

**  Be sure to check out these other fun sites for potato inspiration – Facebook and Potato Goodness.




Potato Gnocchi with Pea Mint Sauce






**** Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Kitchen PLAYKnuckle Salad and US Potatoes.  We have been compensated for this post;  but, all opinions are solely our own.


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