Monday, 11 November 2013

Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Basil

Gnocchi

Special Tools:

Potato Ricer if you got it!

Ingredients:

2-3 Russet potatoes, cooked and finely mashed/ put through a potato ricer
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 Cups Flour
Salt
Water

Olive Oil as needed
About 1-2 Tablespoons butter
About 1/3 Cup fresh chopped Basil leaves
About 1/3 Cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Get the potatoes ready by cooking, peeling and mashing them. Spread the mashed potatoes out on a large cutting board or on a large platter. Pour the beaten egg over the entire top and sprinkle about 1/2-3/4 of the flour over the top as well. Gently begin to fold the flour and egg into the potato, using your hands and a spatula to evenly blend. Fold in more flour until the potato dough is easy to handle and not too sticky anymore. Roll the dough together into one ball and divide into about 6 portions.

Working with one portion at a time, roll out the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1 inch sections.  Take each cut piece of dough and using the tines of a fork and firm but gentle touch roll the dough along the tines to leave grooves along the sides. Set prepared Gnocchi aside on a lightly floured surface. Get a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Finish preparing all the Gnocchi.

Once the pot of water has come to a boil, drop the Gnocchi in about 10-15 at a time and once the gnocchi float back to the top they are cooked. Cook all the gnocchi, removing from the pot of water with a slotted spoon and transferring to a bowl with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat in olive oil.

Prepare the sauce:

In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted stir the butter constantly until it just begins to turn a golden brown but is not burned. Remove from heat and add the chopped basil leaves and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and toss to coat.

Place the Gnocchi in a large roasting pan, using a spatula to get the sauce out of the bowl and onto the gnocchi. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Let's make some Gnocchi! Which in case you didn't know are small "potato pillows" served like pasta in a light sauce as a side at an Italian dinner. They are not exactly easy to pull off but not too complicated either. Just require a special touch to get the texture right.

So some hints, use a drier potato like russet, and have extra flour on hand. Be prepared to get your hands pretty messy. If there is a way to do this without your hands I don't know it and I don't think I would like it as much. Just make sure your hands are real clean and your have short nails. Be food safe friends. Plus we all know flour is a finicky ingredient and it sometimes takes more and sometimes takes less. Depends on humidity and the day and the flour itself. I usually just use all purpose flour because that is about all I ever have on hand.

The texture of Gnocchi has to be just right, and deconstructing the potatoes is key to this process, I bought myself a potato ricer for about 20 dollars at the mall, and it works awesome. But finely mashing the potatoes so there are no lumps at all but the potatoes haven't been whipped either. Smooth and finely mashed is the goal.

Oh right I nearly forgot you can either boil or bake the potatoes to cook them, but I do suggest leaving the skin on to keep more flavor in the potato. Plus if you bake the potatoes you can cut the skins off afterwards and make potato skins with cheese and bacon and green onion. Yummy. . . .

So boil or bake the potatoes in their skin until soft throughout. Remove from oven or pot, and let cool for about 15 minutes or until you don't burn yourself when trying to handle them. Then cut away or peel the potatoes and keep all the cooked potato to either finely mash or put through a potato ricer. Let the potatoes cool again for about 5 minutes and then follow the rest of the recipe.

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