Sunday, March 2, 2008


Yep, it's that time of the week. My favorite and least favorite day of the week is here yet again, and that means I'm cooking. Generally, Sundays are lazy days without much going on, and the food I like to cook on Sundays reflects that. I don't feel like doing real messy food with tons of things on the plate, I just want a simple, straightforward approach to great food. A braise is the perfect meal for a Sunday in Winter; the aroma permeates the house, and the warm flavorful meat brings the family together (yea call me Martha Stewart), however getting up at 3 does not allow much time for such a project. Instead I decided to make some much less time consuming Potato Gnocchi.

Nyucky? Nyoky? I really don't know, but I don't want to hear yucky in something that I'm making, so I pronounce the latter. Anyway, Gnocchi are something that I've been making for a long time. I pride myself in my gnocchi, rather, I pride myself in executing Thomas Keller's gnocchi. With roots in Italian simplicity, it seems wrong to serve them with more than a few other ingredients. I didn't really plan what I was going to do with them beforehand. A sprinkling of good parmesan would be enough.

See that? That's my baby. Isn't she beautiful? I want my kid to look like this. This wooden cutting board was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother to me (not to my mom, she would have never used it) and I love it. No one touches this but me. It is one of the few things I will willingly clean, and I only use it for pasta and gnocchi, because that is what my great grandmother used it for (call her old reliable). It is quite difficult to clean, but I guess all babies have their ups and downs.

Ok, back to the dish. I baked my potatoes then peeled them and passed them through a strainer. I made a well in the center then added egg yolks and flour then "chopped" them into the flower. When this mixture came together I rolled it into a ball, then pulled off small sections and covered them with flour then rolled them into a snake. I cut 3/4 inch pieces then blanched them in boiling salted water.

After I blanched them, I took the ones that I wasn't going to use and put them in well sealed plastic bags to freeze them. When frozen, no defrostation (is that a word?) is necessary, just toss them in your pan heated with some oil till golden brown.This is great for the time crunched mom hint hint.

I put the gnocchi that I didn't freeze, in a hot pan with olive oil until they were golden brown. Afterwards I just tossed them with some parmesan and some julienned ham. "Parmesan and julienned ham!? That's all?" you might say. "Damn right," I might say, and the conversation would end awkwardly, until you tasted it for yourself, and discovered the elegant simplicity that is gnocchi. You will never call them Nyucky again.

1 comment:

CHEF said...

I used to do a gnocchi at Sotto Sopra that was a Northern Italian version using only 12 hour-drained ricotta cheese, flour and grated parm. You have to drain the ricotta for 12 to 24 hours, so you get a lot of the residual water out, and don't have to add as much flour. They are light and airy and like little pillows of deliciousness. You gotta try it. I'll try to post the formula on my blog tomorrow.