This version of pillowy gnocchi uses finely ground matzo meal in place of the usual semolina or all-purpose flour, making them a comforting dish for a Passover meal. Like traditional Northern Italian gnocchi, we use starchy potatoes in the dough, bind it with egg, then form the mixture into bite-sized dumplings that get a quick boil. Sage and butter is a classic Italian sauce for gnocchi and is ideal for a Passover dairy menu. You can serve it as either an entree or hearty side dish.
For the gnocchi: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer until they are tender when pierced with a fork or the tip of a paring knife, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the potato skins with a paring knife and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Pass the chunks through a potato ricer (see Cook's Note) onto a clean work surface. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the potatoes; cool completely.
Meanwhile, pulse the matzo meal in a spice grinder or blender until very finely ground (it should be similar in texture to flour). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Sprinkle 2 cups of the matzo meal over the cooled potatoes. Pour the eggs over the matzo meal and begin to work the mixture together with a fork. Once the mixture begins to clump together, use your hands to gently knead until the ingredients are fully combined, about 2 minutes. Gather the dough together into a smooth ball and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Lightly dust a work surface with a some of the reserved matzo meal. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a 12-inch rope. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the rope into 3/4-inch pieces; place the cut gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Gnocchi can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead; wrap the baking sheet in plastic and refrigerate.
For the sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until brown flecks appear and the butter smells nutty, 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle in the sage and nutmeg and continue to cook, swirling the pan, until the butter is golden brown, about 1 minute more. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Remove from the heat and season with salt and black pepper; set aside while you cook the gnocchi.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add about a third of the gnocchi at a time and cook until they begin to float and the water returns to a rapid simmer, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the gnocchi to the skillet with the butter sauce as they are cooked. Reserve 1/4 cup of the gnocchi cooking water.
Toss the gnocchi gently in the butter sauce. Add half of the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water and toss again; add more water if necessary so the sauce coats the gnocchi. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Using a ricer ensures that the potatoes are smooth and light, not lumpy or gluey, so that they mix nicely into the rest of the ingredients and the gnocchi turn out tender.
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