Fresh Basil Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions and Dijon Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions (like Vidalia), cut into strips
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (chicken can be used)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • garnish Parmesan cheese, grated (Reggiano if available)
  • garnish fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preparation

  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Continue to cook for 45 minutes. Remove potatoes from the water, but save the water to blanch the basil. When potatoes are cool to the touch but still warm, peel them and run them through a ricer or a food mill.
  • Place potatoes on a large flour-dusted cutting board. Sprinkle flour over potatoes.
  • Place basil in the pot with boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and transfer to an ice bath for 60 seconds. Remove and place on paper towel. Remove as much water as you can from basil by squeezing the paper towel.
  • Place egg, salt, and basil in a mini food processor and process for 1 minute, until color from basil has infused into the egg.
  • Make a well in the middle of the pile of potatoes. Pour in egg mixture. Using a fork, slowly fold the flour into the egg and work the dough into a rough ball. Using your hands, bring the dough together and gently knead for 3-4 minutes.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • On a flour-lined board, cut gnocchi dough into 8 pieces. One at a time, roll each section into a tube shape that is 1/2-3/4 inch in diameter. Using a knife, cut the tube into 1 inch lengths.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop gnocchi into rapidly boiling water using a fork (press fork gently into gnocchi to get decorative ridge marks if desired). When gnocchi start to float to top of water, cook for 1 more minute. Remove with a strainer into an ice bath. Continue to cook gnocchi in batches until done. Let them soak in ice bath for a couple of minutes before removing. Drain and place in a bowl. Set aside. Keep blanching pot on stove to finish gnocchi after sauce is done.
  • In a large frying pan place olive oil and onions. Season lightly with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat until onions are very soft and slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Make a well in onions and add mustard. Cook mustard without stirring for 1 minute. Then stir mustard into onions and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer sauce for 3 minutes and add cream. Stir to incorporate and reduce sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to very low.
  • Bring blanching pot back to a boil. Add gnocchi. When the gnocchi start bubbling up to top, cook for 3 additional minutes. Using a strainer, remove to a separate bowl. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Place a serving of gnocchi in a bowl and top with onion and mustard cream mixture. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and thinly sliced basil.
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