A quick brainstorm! Things you could do with leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving:
1) Eat them cold with a spoon.
2) Put them in a bowl and melt cheddar cheese over them in the microwave.
4) Start a mashed potato fight.
Or you could do the smart thing and make these awesome mashed potato gnocchi!
1) Mix together mashed potatoes and yolk with a fork until it's well combined.
2) Add in flour and mix well until the flour is incorporated. You should be left with a fairly dry dough. It shouldn't be sticky at all. If it is, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time.
3) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 4 even pieces.
4) Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long strand about 1/2 inch wide in diameter. Try to get it as even as possible, but it's okay if it's not perfect.
5) Use a dough scraper to chop the strand of dough into 1 inch dumplings.
6) Once your dumplings are chopped, use the back of a fork to gently press into the gnocchi and make some grooves.
7) Once all the gnocchi are made, cook them in simmering salted water. They are done when they float, about 3-4 minutes.
8) For butter sauce, melt butter in a large skillet. Once melted, add cook water, herbs, and spices, and stir well. Toss drained gnocchi with the sauce and serve immediately!
You might think that gnocchi are a lot of work, but the fact that the potatoes are already cooked and everything really cuts down on the prep time. Start-to-finish, you can have these guys on the table in about 30 minutes.
The tricky part about devising this recipe is that everybody probably has a different mashed potato recipe. This can be a blessing and a curse.
The blessing is that whatever flavors you put in your mashed potatoes (butter, cheese, garlic, etc) will also be in your gnocchi which is great.
The bad news is that the consistency of your dough might change a bit depending on how creamy your mashed potatoes are. So this recipe is a starting point.
Measure out exactly two cups of mashed potatoes and add an egg yolk to them. Easy enough so far!
Once that is all mixed together, add a pinch of salt to the dough and stir in about a cup of flour.
The tricky part is that you might need more flour if your mashed potatoes are really creamy. But start with a cup and see where that gets you.
If, after you stir in the flour, your dough is still sticky, then you need more flour.
At some point you’ll end up with a fairly dry dough that you can scoop out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead this a few times just to make everything is combined well.
Cutting the Gnocchi
Once you have your dough ready, chop it into four even pieces just to make it easier to work with.
Then use your hands to roll one of the pieces into a long strand of dough. Try to make it about 1/2 inch in diameter and try to make it an even strand. It probably won’t be perfect unless you work in an Italian restaurant and make gnocchi every single day of your life.
Once you get the strand rolled, then just chop up the strand into individual dumplings! I like to use a dough cutter to do this. It makes quick work of the job.
Once your gnocchi are chopped up, use a fork to put the signature grooves in each dumpling. These just help the gnocchi hold on to the sauce.
Plus they are pretty.
Once you do one strand, you’ll get fast at this. You should be able to pop out a plate of gnocchi in no time.
I’m well aware that my gnocchi aren’t 100% perfect or even the same size.
I have to ask though… who cares?!
Cooking the Gnocchi
When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi just get a large pot of salted water simmering. A good ratio is 1 Tablespoon kosher salt for each gallon of water.
It’s really important that your water is just simmering and not boiling. A rough boil could just rip your soft little gnocchi into bits.
After simmering for a few minutes, the gnocchi should start to rise to the top which means they are done!
These will cook really fast. Must faster than pasta.
These guys are good with almost any sauce you can think of. If you’re looking for something lighter, you could definitely serve them with a light tomato sauce. The simple tomato sauce I made for my homemade trial would be a good one.
I made a quick butter sage sauce though because it just seemed like the right thing to do. I just melted a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and then stirred in a few tablespoons of cooking water from the gnocchi. The salt and starch from the water will help the sauce really come together. Then I added in some fresh sage and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Once my gnocchi were done, I just tossed everything together!
The Full Story
Ok. I can’t lie to you guys. The truth is that the gnocchi that you see above was actually my second attempt to make some sort of dumpling out of leftover mashed potatoes.
At first I thought it would be easier to make a spaetzle, which is similar to gnocchi but smaller.
I failed miserably at this project and made possibly the most unappetizing thing of food ever.
I knew I was onto something though because even though these didn’t look great, they actually tasted pretty solid.
So I just worked on the dough consistency a bit and figured that gnocchi might be easier than spaetzle.
If you have some leftover mashed potatoes after tomorrow, try out some gnocchi!
Or make a mountain. Your call.