Gnocchi

We had gnocchi at our house a few nights ago. (How do you actually say that?) It was great and what was even better was I did not have to make it. The curly blonde-haired one – who likes tobake – is a big fan of Buddy off the Cake Boss on TLC. Apparently he now has another show on Cooking. Buddy was the one who inspired her to make the gnocchi. The dough has potatoes, flour and an egg. In keeping with Terra’s pasta making, it really did not look to be that hard, or fiddly, or time consuming. She made a lovely mushroom sauce to go with and roasted asparagus with a bread crumb topping. We also had roasted pork chops. I love it when we have great food and I love it even more when I don’t always have to make it.

POTATOE GNOCHHI WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

Gnocchi:
3 large Russet potatoes
2 large egg yolks, beaten
1‑2 cups all purpose flour (may not use all)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Few gratings nutmeg (optional)
Mushroom Sauce:
1‑1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped and trimmed
.07 ounce package dried porcini mushrooms (or equivalent weight loose)
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white Italian wine
2 plump cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2‑3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon white truffle oil
Fresh grated parmesan to garnish
Salt
Fresh black pepper

PREPARATION:

Gnocchi:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prick potatoes and bake until done, 45 minutes to one hour. Remove from oven, and slash lengthwise through each potato, pressing short ends to open to release steam (you want the potatoes as dry as possible = less gummy gnocchi). When cooled enough to handle but still quite warm, scoop out the potato flesh and force through a ricer. Measure out 3 lightly scooped cups (do not pack) and spread out into a rectangle on a clean board or counter. Allow potatoes to cool until warm room temperature.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and grate over nutmeg. Drizzle the egg over potatoes, followed by 1/2 cup of flour. With a (metal) bench scraper, begin to lift and fold the potato mixture on to itself, cutting the flour and egg into the potato mixture. When almost incorporated (mixture will begin crumbling), sprinkle over another 1/4 cup flour , and repeat until mixture is in small crumbs. Lightly press the dough together into a ball and move it aside. Clean any sticky dough from counter with the scraper and cover with a light dusting of flour.
  3. On the floured surface, lightly press the dough together and fold/knead just a few turns — dough should be workable with some potato texture and not sticky. Adjust by adding more flour if necessary — the less flour and handling needed, the more tender the resulting gnocchi.
  4. Cut the dough into quarters. On a lightly floured board, roll one portion of dough into a long rope, about 1/2″ wide. With the bench scraper, cut 1″ pieces of dough from rope and place on a floured sheet pan — these are your gnocchi.
  5. Cook gnocchi at a gentle boil in a large pot of abundant salted water. Gnocchi are done when they bob to the surface and cook about a minute longer. Scoop from water and place in sauce.

Mushroom Sauce:

  1. Warm the chicken stock and pour over the porcini mushrooms in a bowl. Allow mushrooms to soak at least 20 minutes to hydrate. When hydrated, remove the mushrooms, rinse and trim away any tough gritty bits if present. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside. Filter the mushroom soaking liquid through cheesecloth, a paper or tea towel and reserve.
  2. Slice the creminis. Heat a large sauté pan medium-high – you want it large enough to eventually hold both the sauce and cooked gnocchi. Add the olive oil. When shimmering, add the mushrooms and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, and allow the mushrooms to exude their juices. Let the juices cook and reduce down until almost completely evaporated. Add the porcini, garlic and red pepper. Continue to cook until well combined, everything smelling fragrant and beginning to dry out.
  3. Add the wine and let reduce. Add 1/2 cup of the mushroom-soaked stock and let reduce until rich, add in another 1/2 cup stock, reducing again. Stir in the parsley. Taste and check for salt; correct if necessary. Turn off heat if the gnocchi has not yet finished cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, begin cooking the gnocchi. Gently scoop the gnocchi as it’s done into the waiting mushroom sauce. Turn the heat to med-high and add another 1/2 cup of the stock, turning gnocchi to coat. If the gnocchi looks like it can absorb more stock, add in a little more — you don’t want it to become too soft. Fold in the butter and truffle oil. Garnish with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.
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