For many, winter connotes cozy fires and picturesque, snow-covered hills. For Chef Instructor Michael Lapi, winter’s arrival and transition into spring is all about potatoes.
One of Chef Lapi’s go-to recipes for Russets is potato gnocchi. Growers produce potatoes in abundance each winter, and while some prefer Yukon Golds, Chef Lapi makes one thing clear: with a little butter and garlic, nothing beats homemade potato dumplings.
“Potato Gnocchi are one of my all-time favorites,” says Chef Lapi. “They can really be a very warm, comforting winter dish – something you can practice [making] on a Sunday afternoon and have meals for the week to come.”
Classically prepared from potatoes, eggs, flour, and salt, and often finished with grated cheese, Chef Lapi says one of the beauties of potato gnocchi is the traceability of its ingredients. Area producers offer eggs, butter, and plenty of cheeses through “Schoharie Fresh” Online Farmers’ Market, as well as at the Carriage House Café and General Store.
Before cooking, Chef Lapi suggests carefully examining your potatoes. “Getting potato gnocchi right is making sure the potatoes are dry,” he says. Once you have your dough, you can shape homemade dumplings with a fork or paddle, though hand-rolling is Chef Lapi’s preferred method. After cooking the dumplings in salted water, sauté the pasta in garlic and butter.
Use Chef Lapi’s two “Ts” of gnocchi-making to gauge the success of the dumplings. “Toothsome, yet tender,” he says along with local ingredients, are key. “Fresh, local potatoes that are full of flavor, local cheese, and eggs – [those make] this recipe the best you can possibly make it.”