Showing posts with label gnocchi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gnocchi. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gnocchi with Browned Butter Sauce

My mother doesn't ask for much. So when she called me to say that they were making gnocchi on her favorite cooking show, America's Test Kitchen, I knew that was a big hint -- please make Gnocci!

Now, while Mom has made gnocchi many times, I have not. Not ever. This was going to be an adventure for me. I did have the presence of mind to tape the gnocchi show, which made it all a bit easier.

At America's Test Kitchen, they try out different ingredients and methods of preparation to see what works best. There aren't many ingredients in gnocchi. The emphasis was getting the potato -- egg -- flour ratio exactly right. Turns out it's not that hard to do. Measure the potato and the flour by weight. Do not make the mistake of measuring the flour with a half cup measure. It results in a different amount of flour. Weigh your flour!

The other key to good gnocchi appears to be keeping it light. They used a few interesting tricks to keep the potatoes fluffy, including spreading them out on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool off. If they're in a bowl, the potatoes will weigh themselves down. They also found that ricing the potatoes yields the best results because it produces light fluffy bits of potato to work with. I used my handy dandy old-fashioned potato ricer.

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings. I will say that when I make them again, I'll probably make them in the morning, ahead of time, because while they weren't difficult to make, they are time-consuming since each one has to be handmade. Then I'll toss them in the sauce just before serving.

The results were magnificent. Light, lovely gnocchi with the simple browned butter sauce they recommended. Mom was very happy!

(from America's Test Kitchen)

1 pound (cooked) russet potatoes (roughly 4 medium)
1 large egg
4 ounces flour (weighed, not measured)
extra flour
1 teaspoon salt

Peel russet potatoes and cook in water. Rice with a ricer, spreading the potatoes on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and allow to cool.

Measure the cooled potatoes by weight. You need exactly one pound.

Whisk the egg well. Add to the potatoes and mix in very gently until just coated. Don't over-mix or let it get gooey.

Using a fork and a light hand, toss in the 4 ounces of flour (weighed, not measured!) and the salt.

Gently mix until there are no patches of dry flour. 

On a lightly floured board, gently knead together the potato mixture for about 1 minute. It should be smooth but moist.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured board roll each piece out into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter.

Cut into pieces about 3/4 of an inch long.

They will look like little pillows.

Place the cut side against the back of a fork.

Gently press against the tines.

Using your finger, roll the gnocchi off the fork, thus creating a little curve.

Voila! Gnooci!

Browned Butter Sauce
(from America's Test Kitchen)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot (I used 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1 teaspoon fresh sage (or a pinch of dried sage)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

Melt the butter in a pan large enough to accommodate the gnocchi. Add the shallot (or garlic), sage and salt. Allow the butter to cook until it just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and gnocchi. Turn to coat.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Tomato Cream Sauce

by Sheila Connolly

This past week I wended my way through some local farmers markets in the western part of Massachusetts, and confirmed the fact that I love pretty colors.  I have a tendency to buy vegetables that aren't the color they're supposed to be (as you will see below).  A couple of years ago this led to an orgy of eggplants, where I tried everything from pure white through lavender to the standard purple, with a few stripes throw in the middle. (For the record, when I was a child I dyed applesauce blue and ate it.) This year I was playing with peppers and carrots and tomatoes.

The heirloom tomatoes were too pretty to pass up, but then I was faced with doing something with them while they were fresh.  So I turned to one of my family's favorite tomato sauce recipes.

I want to say it's a simple sauce, but not quite.  It is simple in flavor and cooking.  But to be honest, it does require a bit of chopping up front, and then puréeing at the end.  You have choices:  one, you can chop up your tomatoes, cook, then run through a food mill; or two, you can peel your tomatoes, cook, and stick the sauce into a food processor and whirl away.  It's up to you, depending on where you want to put your effort.

In terms of the actual cooking, that is simple too—but not short.  But you can use that in your favor.  Assemble the ingredients in a pan, set the heat as low as possible, then walk away for an hour, stirring as the spirit moves you.  Come back and mill/puree, etc. at the end.

Anyway, it's a flavorful way to highlight your tomatoes, and it's a nice change from a traditional tomato sauce for pasta or, in this case, gnocchi, with a lovely color and texture.

Tomato Cream Sauce
½ stick salted butter
3 Tblsp finely chopped yellow onion
3 Tblsp finely chopped carrot
2 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped (you can use canned or fresh; if you use fresh, you may need to add a little extra liquid, depending on how juicy the tomatoes are)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup heavy cream

Put everything except the cream into a saucepan and cook at a bare simmer for an hour, uncovered.  Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally.

 Purée the contents of the pan through a food mill (or if the tomatoes are skinless, in a food processor or blender).  Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring.  Add the heavy cream and heat through.  Taste and correct for salt.  Serve immediately, over hot pasta or gnocchi.

BTW, packaged gnocchi are great to keep on hand--they cook in no time at all, and the go well with almost any sauce.