Strategy for making Gnocchi for group dinner?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by inaweofchefs, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    I'd like to try making gnocchi for an upcoming dinner.  I've never made it before, but plan to do a trial run prior.  The concern involves at what time to prep and cook the gnocchi.  Based on google, I've decided my 3 options are:

    1.  Prep and cook prior to arrival.  Gnocchi will probably get gluey/chewy while it cools; bad option.

    2.  Prep prior and transport on baking sheet,cook when there. This seems like a great option, but I haven't read anything to indicate that sitting for a couple of hours will not damage the prepped gnocchi.  

    3.  Do the prep and cooking on arrival.  This is obviously ideal for the food quality, but would be very inconvenient.  

    In addition to thoughts on that, I'd also like input on what type of gnocchi and sauce I should make.  I'm torn between potato gnocchi and spinach/ricotta gnocchi; but am tempted to to a marinara with goat cheese sauce, regardless.  

    Thanks in advance for any input/advice!
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    How many guests will be at the dinner?
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If you're gnocchi are fairly small, you can make them a couple of days in advance.  After they're cut, spread them in a single layer on a sheet pan (or multiple sheet pans, as necessary.  Sprinkle them very lightly with flour.  Cover with cling wrap. 

    Put the sheet pan(s) in the freezer, and freeze the gnocchi completely.  

    After they're completely frozen, pack in plastic bags.  Do the best you can to hold frozen until cooking.  Cook as usual. 

    If it's possible to prepare them just before leaving for the part, a two hour rest after formation will probably make them better than cooking right away.  The trick is transporting without hurting them.  They don't survive getting mushed up very well.

    BDL
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    You can always make the dough ahead of time and transport the dough. Then form and cook at the dinner location.
     
  5. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    Thank you for the suggestions.  I think premaking and transporting the dough would work well.  A couple questions:  how should I transport it, possibly roll it into threads, place them in a roasting pan and cover with wrap?  Also, how long in advance can the dough be made before its quality suffers, would a few hours be ok?

    Also, any thoughts on gnocchi types/sauces?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I transported some dough for a party last night. I just transported it as a ball in a sealed plastic container and once there portioned it out and proceeded. A couple of hours should be no problem. As for types or sauces, there are a myriad of possibilities. Pretty much would need more info about remaining menu before I would be so bold as to make any suggestions.
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Also, how long in advance can the dough be made before its quality suffers, would a few hours be ok.

    I usually prep mine early in the day. The dough is mixed, the pillows shaped, and laid out on a lightly floured sheet pan. Where they sit, uncovered.

    So anytime the day of should be fine.

    Were it me, I'd merely mix the dough, put it in a food-safe plastic bag, and transport it that way. Not only will this be the simplest for you, the other party guests will be impressed by the whyole shaping and cooking process. Just guessing now, but it wouldn't surprise me that you could mix the dough the day before and refrigerate it overnight.

    I agree with Cheflayne. Without knowing what else is being served it's difficult to make sauce or gnocchi type recommendations.
     
  8. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    As far as other things being served: there will be 20ish people, most of whom will bring something entirely random, so preparing something in concert with the other food is neither possible or necessary... just needs to be delicious and (preferably) impressive.

    I'd like to do a sauce that I can make prior and simply reheat.  I'm tempted by marinara with goat cheese, but am entirely open to suggestion.  Also, I'm unsure whether to go for regular potato gnocchi, or spinach ricotta gnocchi.
     
  9. durangojo

    durangojo

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    my 2 cents on sauce ideas...if you want to stay with a red sauce, but be a little different, i'm thinking a roasted red pepper with smoked gouda sauce...simplier still is a creamy tomato basil vodka sauce, and i don't think you can ever, ever, ever go wrong with a creamy basil pesto sauce...did i mention ever?  ooh, also, if you really want to stick to a marinara sauce, you could go with an arrabiata or my personal favorite, puttanesca......remember the reggiano parmesan....the good stuff!

    joey
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    chestnut gnocchi with chanterelle mushroom sauce

    spinach ricotta gnocchi with a fire roasted tomato sauce

    pumpkin gnocchi with hazelnut brie sauce

    foie gras stuffed gnocchi with mission fig port sauce
     
  11. durangojo

    durangojo

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    cheflayne,

    you just showing off again? think your suggestions might be  a bit too over the top for this group dinner, no?...must say though your ideas, are always, always, always

     so very lovely,(but you know that) ...what are you doing for yourself for the turkey trot dinner this year? i  hope if you are working you get some time to enjoy and, if you are not working you get to enjoy it even more...gotta go to come back mon!

    joey
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  12. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Actually for the first time in forever, I am off. Going to visit the kids and grandkids and eat, not cook. What a concept! I am not sure if I know how to eat sitting down.
     
  13. durangojo

    durangojo

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    that's funny....you mean you don't have to eat over the sink?....enjoy wherever you are and safe travels!

    joey

    grandkids eh? is retirement a line on your horizon?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  14. sparkie

    sparkie

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    I would not recommend making the dough too far in advance. I left some dough in the fridge overnight once. It was a giant sticky mess the next day. Now I freeze them right away & always finish forming the entire batch of gnocchi at once.

    Before deciding to prepare these at the party (fun idea btw), make sure they have appropriate counter space & that you are thoroughly practiced. These can be quite messy & time consuming the first few times you try. Also try to reproduce the same timeline to ensure the dough holds as long as you need.

    Most importantly, when cooking large amounts of gnocchi, make sure to use a large, wide-bottomed pot with plenty of water. Too narrow, or not enough water that the water stops boiling, you could end up with a giant lump of goo stuck to three bottom of your pot!

    PS I'm more of a plain Jane. I'll take well made potato gnocchi with Bolognese sauce over any of the more fancy options.
    Good Luck!
     
  15. chefsconcept

    chefsconcept

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    I would recommend prepping the gnocchi and then freezing them.  Transport the frozen gnocchi to the site and boil them there.  As for the recommendation for the type, both of the ones you wrote about sound fine.  I did however make a sweet potato gnocchi recently that was unbelievable and now my favorite.
     
  16. blueicus

    blueicus

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    Best solutions are to freeze dough after the gnocchi have been formed or blanch them immediately after rolling chill and store them in individual portions. Letting dough sit around for more than an hour will cause the dough to overhydrate and gluten to develop, causing a sticky mess as mentioned above
     
  17. chefhow

    chefhow

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    I make my gnocchi in batches and freeze it.  When I am ready to use it I put it in salted boiling water, cook and then finish in a sautee pan with butter and oil.