I love soups and I love gnocchi. This soup called to me naturally.
The original souo recips from Deborah Madison called for commercial gnocchi, but I wanted to make them at home. I absolutely love gnocchi, soft pillos of love, and making them is always fun. Yes they can be a bit challenging, but the joy if having a wonderful gnocchi is, as they say, priceless! In addition, I also chose to pan sauté these gnocchi in butter/ghee. This make the dish very decadent and added a wonderful texture to the soup.
This soup is elegant and delicious. Lightly scented with leeks and sautéed scallions, it finishes with a hint of spice from the pepper. All soup should be this good! Dont mind the long recipe, this soup is quite easy to make, especially if you purchase the gnocchi commercially.
Tasting Rome is a wonderful cookbook of recipes from various restaurants and vendors across Rome. Filled with very traditional recipes from masters in the art, thsi Italian cookbook is fabulous.
for more wonderful Italian recipes from this cookbook, click here.
I have always been a fan of Deborah Madison, her early push for farm-to-table cuisine, vegetarian and vegan cuisines and her depth of knowledge of ingredients and cuisines. I have quite a few of her cookbooks, each one a masterpiece. This soup cookbook in particular is packed with recipes, sorted by season, is one of my go to books. This amazing recipe highlights what you can expect. For more recipes from this amazing book on soups, click here.
For another fabulous gnocchi recipe see Ricotta gnudi with peas & mint, served with vegetable nage.
For the soup:
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups leeks, cut in half, rinsed throughly and sliced
1 celery rib, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup scallions, finely sliced into circles
For the gnocchi:
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
A generous pinch of nutmeg
Salt to taste
To make the soup:
Melt the butter in the soup pot and add the leeks, potatoes, salt and pepper and sauté on medium low heat. Stir often so that the leeks do not brown. Once the leeks are cooked and soft, about 7-10 minutes.
Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook till most of the wine has cooked off. Add the water and simmer gently for 20 minutes, till the potatoes are soft.
You can now choose to leave the soup as is in a chunky form. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
Alternatively, you can purée the sout with a hand blender till very smooth. Taste and adjust salt as needed. You are looking for a fairly thick soup, one where the gnocchi will float If gently placed on top.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and saute the scallions on low heat till cooked and very soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Set aside to cool.
To make the gnocchi:
Boil the potatoes in salted water till very soft. Drain and cool till warm to the touch. Mash by passing through a food mill, or with your hands. Make sure you get it to be as smooth as possible. Mashing potatoes while they are warm helps prevent them from getting gummy.
Add the potatoes in a pile on a lightly floured surface. Make a hole in the center and add the salt, nutmeg and foil. Mix in starting from the outside Till you have a dough. See notes on making dough for gnocchi below. Allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the dough into 5 portions. On a lightly floured surface, I use my countertop, roll out the dough into a thin roll, about 1/2 inch thic. I use a forward and backward motion will a slight pressure going out with both hands to stretch the dough. Do not use too much downward pressure so the cooked gnocchi is still soft. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a very sharp knife, and set on a tray covered with a damp cloth. Finish rolling out all.the dough in this manner.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the gnocchi in in batches of about 15. The reason you want to do this in small batches is because you don’t want the water to cool down too much. In addition, you want to remove the old batch first before adding a new batch. The gnocchi will rise to the surface when cooked, allow to cook for 1 more minute. You know when the gnocchi are cooked when they float and are approximately double in size. Scoop one out and taste for softness, as well as, if it completely cooked in the center. Overcooking the gnocchi will also make them tough. Note the timings and complete cooking all batches using the timings you have established above. Note, different batches will have different timings, so follow this process for every batch.
You can serve the gnocchi as is. It is best to have these ready As the soup is labeled into bowls and served immediately. Storing them makes them a bit tough.
Alternatively, for a richer version, you can sauté the gnocchi in butter till they are evenly browned on all sides. These gnocchi are soft in the center and crisp outside, they are absolutely decadent. It is best to sauté them right before you serve them for best results.
To serve the soup:
Heat the soup up and ladle into individual bowls. Add 4-5 pieces of the gnocchi on top, fresh off the stove if possible, and drizzle some of the scalllions and oil around them. Serve immediately.
Dough for gnocchi:
There are a couple of tricks for making soft gnocchs. 1) Don’t overwork the dough. As soon as it is mixed in stop working it. 2) When rolling them, again be gentle. You don’t want to compact the dough too much.
3) Allow the gnocchi dough to rest for at least 30 minutes, don’t rush this.