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Gnocchi

 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:05 am    Post subject: Gnocchi Reply with quote

Hi Rainey!
This is a basic potato gnocchi recipe. It does say to bake rather than boil the potatoes. I think this not only gives a better flavour (by reducing the moisture), it requires less flour later on. The less flour you use also gives a better flavour and less handling of the dough minimizes gluten development to give a lighter result.

I know there is a big difference between 1-2 cups of flour.. use only as much flour as is needed to create a soft, workable dough. Also by only using the egg yolk, the dough stays more tender.

When you want to cook the gnocchi, drop into boiling water. When they rise to the surface they are done. This should only take minutes.
Then just top with a favourite sauce and serve!

4 Medium Sized Potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 Large Egg Yolk
1-2 Cups Of Flour
Salt

Gorgonzola Sauce:
4 oz. Gorgonzola Cheese or favourite blue cheese (room temp)
1 oz. Butter
8 oz. Heavy Cream

Fresh Chopped Parsley
Fresh grated parmigiano reggiano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wash & dry the potatoes. Bake the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 45 minutes.

While potatoes are baking, you can prepare to make the sauce by placing the cheese, butter and cream in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the cheese has completely melted into the cream and the sauce has slightly thickened. Set aside. (I would do this just before cooking the gnocchi.) When the potatoes are cool enough, peel and process with potato ricer.

While still warm, pile the riced potatoes on a large board forming a mound with a well in the center. add the yolk and the salt into the hole. Slowly start adding the flour a bit at a time, mixing well with your hands and continue until you have created a soft workable dough. Knead gently and briefly until you have a smooth, pliable and still slightly sticky dough.

To shape gnocchi, first break the dough into fist sized pieces, and roll each piece into a log about the thickness of your thumb. Cut into 1 inch pieces. To finish, take a fork and place it against your work board. With it's back towards you, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly up the length of the fork tines. Let the gnocchi fall back onto the board. Place the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and either cook immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to use, but not more than about 3 hours.

To cook, drop into boiling salted water. Remove immediately when they all float to the surface. Drain well and top with sauce. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley and pass parmigiano at the table. Serves 4 (main)- 6 (primo)

For squash gnocchi, about 3 lbs (any winter squash) to 1 1/2 c flour, s&p and a pinch of nutmeg. The squash need to be baked until tender and then riced. I try to let it drain to remove as much liquid as possible. These are great with the butter sage sauce or spicy sauteed rapini.

Another good sauce recipe is the rapini. I got a good one from Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante website (click cucina/recipe of the month/ archive recipes) and it is served with orcchiette (little ears) another favourite pasta, similar to gnocchi but made with semolina. Get a good quality simple Italian sausage for the sauce or make your own blend with coarse ground pork, red pepper, s&p and some white wine.

Good luck and buon appetito!
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, meant to include this too!

http://www.babbonyc.com/rec-orecchiette.html
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Omi-freakin-god! These are for me to harvest but if it sounds like it's up your alley, go for it! After I had dinner I wished I could have taken a bath in this stuff.

Gnocchi di Patate Dolci
from Slow Food Santa Cruz

• 1 pound sweet potatoes
• 1 cup unbleached white flour, plus additional as needed
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel (I omitted this in favor of the flavors in the sauces I had chosen)
• 5 quarts water + 2 tablespoons salt for boiling gnocchi

To make gnocchi, preheat oven to 375?. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork to help moisture evaporate when they are roasted. Place thm directly on oven rack and roast until tender, about 1 hour. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them (I wrapped them in a tea towel to cool slowly). Using a ricer, food mill or fork, mash the potatoes while they are still quite warm. DO NOT put them in a food processor or blender.

The mashed sweet potato should measure 1 cup.

Turn the flour and salt out on a large cutting board or work surface and make a well in the center. Put in the orange peel, nutmeg and warm mashed potatoes in the center. Draw in the flour gradually to form a soft dough.

Roll the dough into long cylinders about 1/2" thick and cut into pieces about 1" long.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until al dente. Fully cooked gnocchi will float on surface of the water. Remove to warm serving dish. Serve with sauce and freshly grated Parmesan.


Walnut Sauce
from Hotel Plaza Lucchesi, Florence

• 100gr. shelled walnuts, coasely chopped (I used almost a cup)
• 2 cloves garlic, diced
• 250gr. fresh cream (about a half pint)
• 1dl. extra virgin olive oil (enough to saute the garlic)
• salt and pepper to taste
• (I added a 1/4 teaspoon dried basil rubbed almost to a powder)

Heat the oil, garlic and walnuts. Add the cream. Correct flavor with salt and pepper and basil.


Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons fresh sage, cut in chiffonade
• 2 tablespoons pine nuts
• salt and pepper to taste

Brown butter. Add sage and pine nuts. Correct flavor with salt and pepper being very judicious with salt as butter may already be salty.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leo- Are you the "guest" that provided the recipe for the gnocchi with the gorgonzola sauce?

I loved the sweet potato gnocchi so much I'm looking forward to trying it again with blue Hubbard squash. When I do I'll also be trying the gorgonzola sauce. I think I'm going to love it and I'd like to properly credit the recipe in my database.

I'm also thinking a little bit of panchetta couldn't hurt anything. Ever tossed some in?
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rainey,
I was the first guest post with the Gorgonzola sauce (by accident) but not the last guest post though.
Glad to hear the gnocchi was a success. The lovely little dumplings are one of the best vehicles for eating cheese sauce.
Hope you have better luck finding said cheese. I went on a search for gorgonzola (found gorgonzola dolce) at $75 a kilo. Can't justify that kind of pain on the grad student budget.
Pancetta never hurts anyone. Isn't it Emeril who says "pork fat rules"? I'd have to agree.
With the gorgonzola sauce, I haven't added it before but think pancetta would be good. I wouldn't substitute anything smoked and might ease up on the butter in the sauce, maybe even leaving it out completely. Depends on how you are going to make it. Are you thinking about cooking the pancetta in a pan and continuing to make the sauce in the same one or just frying up the pancetta and tossing it into the sauce when done? Either way. a great idea for my next time too. Yum

Good luck with that.. and all the best for the Holidays.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leo- I was the second "guest". I wanted to harvest those recipes for my database and thought if I had to type them out the first time, I might as well do it where others could also try it if they liked.

We have a natural foods grocery near us called Whole Foods. They have excellent cheese choices. They're not necessarily cheap but you can buy as little as you like. Same with pancetta & prociutto. I can get get trim for things like soup at a reasonable price.

I was thinking of frying up the pancetta separately and sprinkling it on as a garnish.

Speaking of great cheese, I wonder if there are goat and sheeps' milk cheeses from New Zealand. I just recalled that I can't think of any and you have an enormous industry of sheep and goats, no?
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lpennin104



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the looks of the gnochi recipe but am a little confused by what you mean by using the fork and pushing the dough against it. Do you just make little ridges in the dough? I've never done pasta from scratch and thus a little dim on the whole thing. At least gnochi doesn't involve a machine. Anyway, it looks great along with the sauces. Ever since I made my own pesto sauce, I am sure anything you make from scratch is best. Linda
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda- I'll let someone with experience tell you about rolling gnocchi. But, you're right, the concept is to add some texture that lets the sauce settle in. I think, if you do it right (I didn't), you also create more surface area to ensure thorough cooking for nice light gnocchi without overcooking.
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda - Rainey is right. Using the fork gives you nice ridges in the tops of the gnocchi to give texture to "trap" sauce a bit and the rolling creates a little "dimple" in the back to do the same. And the uniformity as well as this hollow in the back helps them all to cook evenly in a relatively short time. They are really more of a dumpling and gentle handling will make sure they are nice and light.
And if you are keen on pesto, try it with arugula when summers fresh basil is gone. I made some for a flatmate and now she adds it to everything too, bread, mayo, pasta, potato bake, soup..

Rainey- Yes, lots of COWS, sheep and a few goats. Sheep and goat milk are beginning to become more prevalent but are still, for the most part, a "cottage" type industry. A few large producers make enough feta type, chevre and some rind ripened cheese for the domestic market. There aren't many that are exported as far as I know. Kapiti and Whitestone cheese are the only brands I am fairly certain make it across the pond not sure if they are sending over any thing other than cows milk cheese though.
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