Homemade Gnocchi in a Simple Tomato Sauce

Gnocci with Homemade sauce

This year’s tomato harvest at Creekview Farm was never ending! From San Marzano’s to beautiful Herilooms, we had enough harvest for two large batches of tomato sauce, two large batches of bloody mary mix, endless caprese salads and beyond. To help me warm up on these cooler nights, I decided to pair our homemade tomato sauce with a simple gnocchi recipe topped with shaved Pecorino and fresh herbs.

Tomato Sauce

  • Tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes from Creekview Farm)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Onions, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Creekview Tomato Strainer

I started off by pureeing the tomatoes using our super old-fashioned tomato food strainer (I remember my Mom using this all the time as a kid). The strainer helps separate out the skins and seeds, while keeping the yummy pulp and juices. And what I love most about making tomato sauce is the fact that you really can make it your own and add in whatever herbs, vegetables and seasonings you want. For this sauce, I kept it very simple by adding in a few chopped vegetables and herbs and letting it simmer all day on low until it reached the perfect consistency.

Creekview Herbs

Add chopped vegetables and garlic to a large heavy pot over medium heat, add olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add tomatoes,  chopped herbs of your choice, 1-2 bay leaves and sea salt and simmer on low heat until tomato sauce has darkened and you’ve reached your preferred consistency. I simmered mine for about 8 hours on low – make sure you are constantly tasting the sauce through out the day, adding in more herbs if you desire. Season sauce with more salt and freshly ground pepper.

Ground Pepper

Store in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. TIP: when freezing, make sure you freeze in 2-4 serving portions.

Gnocchi

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Fresh basil

Begin by boiling the potatoes (skins on) until soft and tender. While they are still warm, peel them and pass them through a potato ricer (if you don’t have a ricer, you can use a hand masher or fork – just be sure to not overwork the potatoes). Gather the potatoes into a mound and form a well in the center. Add the egg and salt and begin to mix together with a fork, gradually adding in the flour. Once mixed, begin to knead the dough gently until dough is slightly dry to the touch.

Aprons Gnocchi

Form dough into log and slice off 1-inch pieces. Take one of the pieces and roll into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. With a sharp knife cut the rope crosswise every 3/4 inch. Continue the same process with the rest of the dough.

Aprons Gnocchi

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once ready, drop in the dumplings for about 2 minutes (they will begin to float). Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove them quickly from the bath and drain on a paper towel.

Aprons Gnocchi

When ready to serve, heat your sauce and toss gently with the gnocchi. Garnish with freshly shaved Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil. Enjoy with Sangiovese or Merlot.

Happy Holidays!

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Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

Another one of my “go-to” meals are stuffed meatballs – spicy Italian sausage meatballs, sweet Italian sausage meatballs or chicken meatballs topped with an easy pesto-tomato sauce. Several years ago, I was introduced to this easy-to-make sauce while watching a cooking show on the Food Network and it’s still a staple in many of my dishes today. Last night I didn’t have sausage in the refrigerator however I had ground turkey, fresh herbs, cheese and bread crumbs – voilà!

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Olive oil
  • Extra parsley for garnish
  • 1 tub bite size fresh Mozzarella balls

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except the oil and Mozzarella balls, in a bowl. To form each ball, take a handful of the mixture and wrap it around a piece of mozzarella. Drizzle olive oil over the meatballs and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and are evenly browned. Top meatballs with homemade pesto-tomato sauce and garnish with extra parsley.

Pesto-Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tub good quality fresh pesto (or homemade pesto)
  • 1 can quartered or halves tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Add the tomatoes to a saucepan over medium heat and mash with a potato masher. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in a 1/2 cup of pesto. Serve over meatballs with your favorite red wine. Some excellent wine choices would be a Super Tuscan, Sangiovese, Rioja or even a Merlot.

~Cheers! Crystal

Linguine with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil & Olive Oil

Linguine tossed with Heirloom Tomatoes
1 pound Linguine pasta, cooked al dente
¼ cup slivered fresh garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes
½ cup Sauvignon Blanc (I used Kenwood Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup whole basil leaves
Asiago cheese

Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, Wine

Sauteed Tomatoes

In heavy bottomed sauté pan, heat olive oil. Drop in garlic and cook until it becomes translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté for one minute. Add stock and wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Season the sauce with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Add basil leaves, remove from heat and toss in pasta. Serve immediately with cheese on top. Recipe inspired from our Executive Chef  – Robin Lehnhoff-McCray.

Linguine Heirloom Tomatoe with Chicken Tenderss,

Enjoy ~Crystal