Gnocchi for Passover!
Orange County Register/Fullerton News Tribune
April 3, 2014
Kosher gnocchi means you don't have to pass on
kitchen delights during Passover
Fullerton resident Judy Bart Kancigor is the author
of “Cooking Jewish” (Workman) and “The Perfect Passover Cookbook,” (a Workman
e-book short) and can be found on the Web at cookingjewish.com.
Holiday meals – weeks in the making, minutes in the
For Jews, the culinary highlight of the year is
Passover, the eight-day holiday (seven in Israel) that begins at sundown on
Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday, and
even those who never set foot inside a temple pull out all the stops for this
one. The culinary climax of the holiday is the two Seders, the ceremonial
dinners commemorating our ancestors’ flight from slavery in Egypt.
This year, Fullerton’s Temple Beth Tikvah will host
a community Seder with all the trimmings at 6 p.m. on April 15. Call
714-871-3535 for reservations by Wednesday. Adults are $40; children 3-12, $15.
But after the Seders fade into memory, the
additional matzah-filled days of Passover would loom before us as arid as the
Sinai Desert itself, if not for the creativity of Jewish cooks through the ages
who have transformed that barren board into thousands of delicious
permutations to delight Jewish households.
No bread for a week? No problem! A new cookbook,
“Meatballs and Matzah Balls,” from Marcia A. Friedman will bring new life to
that same-old, same-old with a whole chapter dedicated to Passover.
Italian by birth and Jewish by choice, Friedman has
amassed a delectable feast filled with nostalgic reflections from both
traditions. Crossover dishes such as frittata kugel with roasted red peppers,
Passover gnocchi and, yes, meatball matzah balls mingle with the focaccia and
challah, the latkes and lasagna to create a multicultural banquet with tempting
“It always feels like a brainteaser to create menus
for the Passover Seders and the remaining days of the holiday,” she said. “But
it’s made me creative.”
Friedman has adapted Italian dishes such as chicken
cacciatora and potato gnocchi for the holiday, as well as tempting
desserts such as chocolate marshmallow pie and banana tart.
But gnocchi for Passover? “The first time I made
it, no one could believe it’s kosher for Passover,” she said. “And what a rare
pleasure to eat something chewy and pasta-like during the no-bread holiday. But
the best part is when lunch was over, not a single gnocchi was left.”
PASSOVER GNOCCHI WITH PEPPER AND TOASTED GARLIC
From "Meatballs and Matzah Balls" (Elsa
Jacob Publishing) by Marcia A. Friedman
2 pounds Yukon gold or butter potatoes, unpeeled,
cut into large pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups matzah cake meal, plus more as needed
1/2 cup potato starch Extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
6 large garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise into
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Boil potatoes until just tender,
about 20 minutes. Drain. Cool, peel, discard skin. Press potatoes through
potato ricer or mash into large bowl. Stir in salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together matzah cake meal
and potato starch; fold into potatoes. Knead 1 minute until dough is smooth but
still slightly sticky. Add a little cake meal if too moist or sprinkle with
water if too dry.
3. Bring large pot of salted water
to boil. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Roll small handful of dough into
rope about 1/2-inch thick. Slice into 3/4-inch pieces. Gently pinch each piece
between your finger and prongs of fork for ribbed texture. Place on prepared
parchment. Gnocchi can now be refrigerated or frozen for later use.
5. Place a thick (about 1/3-inch)
layer of olive oil in wide, shallow bowl (or a few pie plates) and set aside.
Gently stir half the gnocchi into boiling water. After about a minute,
dumplings will start rising to surface. Cook 40 seconds more until al dente, and
quickly remove with slotted spoon or small strainer to bowl with oil, stirring
gently to coat to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
6. Heat olive oil in large, nonstick
skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in red pepper flakes and some garlic: place
as many gnocchi as will fit in one layer in pan. Cook until both sides are
golden brown and crisped, 6 to 10 minutes (remove garlic sooner if too brown).
Remove to warmed platter; top with cheese, if using. Repeat with remaining
gnocchi. Serve immediately. Serves 4-5