Mar 1st, 2008 by Jonny
Last year, Amy and I spent a very enjoyable long weekend with her cousin and cousin’s husband visiting the
After our second full day of tasting we were all overwhelmed by the urge to continue our bacchanalia that evening with a four course dinner and more wine. Heated discussions were had over what should be on the menu and what we could reasonably cook given that we’d been drinking all day and the kitchen in our cabin was less than professional-grade. Finally, we decided that a variety of cold appetizers, including hummus, guacamole, crudite, and pita chips, would be an easy way to begin and might allow us to cook the rest of the meal without getting too drunk.
The second course was gnocchi with a combination of two Lidia Bastianich sauce recipes – one with breadcrumbs fried in butter, and the other with sage and brown butter. The sauce, of course, was about as easy as a sauce can be, but the process was lengthened by us making the gnocchi from scratch.
The third course was a delicious New York Strip steak served with a red wine jus and roasted red and golden beets. And all of this was topped off with a final cheese course of a
Now, the point of this tale is not to wow our readers with how much we drink when we’re with Amy’s cousins, because we often surprise ourselves by that, but rather it is to demonstrate that you can make really, really good gnocchi di patate from scratch even when you’re half in the bag — though we recommend you make it when sober for the first time.
Here’s how to do it.
GNOCCHI DI PATATE (Serves 3 to 4)
– 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3inch cubes/lumps
– 3 tablespoons kosher salt (2 tablespoons of table salt)
– 1 large egg
– Up to 2 cups plain white flour (depending on size of your potatoes)
1. Boil water and add two/one tablespoon of salt
2. Peel and chop potatoes, and boil them until they no longer stick to a knife-blade. Remove potatoes from water, but not discard it. Drain potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.
3. Use a food-mill, food processor or, better yet, the fine grater side of a box grater, to grate potatoes.
4. Spread grated potatoes out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining salt to draw out some of the moisture. Leave for 20 minutes.
5. Sprinkle flour on a board and place grated potatoes on it. Make a well in the middle and crack egg into it. Add half a cup of flour and combine it all by hand.
6. Mixture should be quite sticky so continue adding flour and combining until it gets smoother. You’ll know it’s the right consistency when it stops being sticky and, if you cut into it, it resembles cookie dough. Don’t worry about getting it really smooth because the potatoes won’t combine perfectly with the flour, it’ll always have a kind of speckled look.
8. Then take a fork and press/roll the gnocchi down the tines of the fork, making grooves to better hold the sauce.
9. Re-boil the water and cook gnocchi in batches. You know they’re done when they float to the surface.
BROWN BUTTER AND FRESH BREADCRUMB SAUCE (from Lidia Bastianich)
- Unsalted Butter (about 1 stick)
- 6-8 Sage leaves
- 1 thick slice of bread – grated finely
- Salt and Pepper
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Melt butter in saute pan on medium. When it begins to color, add your grated breadcrumbs. You will be crisping up your breadcrumbs, but watch your heat because you do not want to burn your butter.
- After 1 1/2 minutes, add the sage. Allow to flavor the butter for another minute.
- Season with salt and pepper. Toss sauce with your gnocchi. Plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. DELIZIOSO!