Wild Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi


Happy 2014 everyone! In the spirit of new year’s resolutions and self improvement, this recipe is the story of a culinary challenge that I finally overcame last year.

Ever since I started cooking, homemade gnocchi has been my Everest. I looked at countless recipes and tried multiple times to make it, but I could never get it quite right. It was always wound up a sloppy mess or an over-floured taste-dud.

This Christmas though, I finally figured it out.

The trick, at least for me, was to give up on the idea that the dough should feel like pasta dough. With pasta, the dough tends to be pretty tough and not sticky at all. But if you try to get gnocchi dough to that consistency you’ll wind up adding so much flour that it ruins the flavor. Instead, the trick is to flour the outside of the dough just enough to roll it out. It’ll still be a little sticky and hard to work with, but the result is delicious.

And this recipe is the perfect way to dress a well-made gnocchi! All the ingredients are delicate and inviting, and together they form a rich yet sublime palette of flavors. The leeks impart a subtle onion flavor, while the mushrooms and parmesan provide notes of umami. And while you may be tempted to skip the sherry in this recipe, you shouldn’t. It adds a fantastic extra dimension to the already wonderful thyme-cream sauce.

Best wishes (and dishes) for the new year!

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi

Gnocchi Ingredients

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1/4 cup flour (plus more for rolling the dough)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg

Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 cup of oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup of spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Fill a pot with water and add the potato to it. Bring to a boil and cook for 45 minutes, or until the potato is cooked all the way through. Let the potato cool enough to handle and then remove the skin. (You can also microwave it for 5-6 minutes to cut down on cooking time, but you won’t be able to get as much potato away from the skin.)
  2. Combine the potato with the other gnocchi ingredients and mix thoroughly. Dust the dough and a rolling surface with flour and roll the dough out into a long cylinder 1/2 inch thick. To make the gnocchi, cut 1 inch long sections of the dough and make a soft indent in each with a fork.
  3. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and add a generous dash of salt. Bring to a soft boil and add the gnocchi. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the gnocchi begins to float instead of sink to the bottom.
  4. Heat a skillet to medium and melt a tablespoon of butter. Add the gnocchi and saute for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Remove the gnocchi to a plate.
  5. Add the 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the leeks and mushrooms and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the leeks are slightly translucent and the mushrooms begin to brown and crisp.
  6. Drop the heat to low and add the thyme, heavy cream, sherry and parmesan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by about a third. Turn off the heat and mix the spinach into the sauce, letting the residual heat cook it for 1-2 minutes.
  7. To serve, gently toss the gnocchi with the sauce and plate. Season with salt, pepper and extra parmesan to taste and enjoy!

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