Monday, April 16, 2012

Pasta perfection

A few weeks ago I found a recipe online for Perfect Gnocchi. For anyone not familiar with Gnocchi, it is a pasta made from potato's. Chef Fabio Viviani makes it look incredibly easy and let me assure you- it is! I watched the video a few times repeatedly, so as to write down what he used to make the gnocchi and how he cooked it afterwards.

Chef Fabio's Perfect Gnocchi

3 lbs of potato's
2 cups of flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
optional- salt & pepper to taste

Cook the potato's and mash. Let them cool in the refrigerator overnight. I peeled, boiled and mashed them as if making regular mashed potato's- Fabio cooked them as if making baked potato's, then mashed them with the same result- do what works for you.

I do not have a wonderful Kitchen Aid mixer yet, so here is the version of doing it by hand. It still worked, but I think the mixer would make things go much faster and be a lot easier.

Mix cheese, flour (salt & pepper) and nutmeg in a large bowl. (I also threw in a generous dash of garlic salt.) Once mixed, add in the potato's. I mixed this with a wooden spoon for a while until finally just getting flour on my hands and mixing it by hand as if kneading the dough. Once mixed, turn it out onto the counter or a floured cloth and work the dough a little more. patting it as Fabio does to remove all air bubbles. 

Slice into pieces the size of your fist. (I quartered it. Just easier that way for me.)  Roll the ball out into a long rope about the diameter of your thumb.  (If your ropes start to fall apart, cut that part off and work with it later.  Working it by hand it will moisten up and you can then roll it out again. If they get too long to manage on the surface you are working on- cut them down to more manageable lengths.) Once the dough is in a rope about the diameter of your thumb, cut it into pieces about one inch in length. Some people will press a fork into it to give it lines for decoration, but you can skip this step if you'd like.  

Fabio then brings a large pot to water to a boil. Toss in your gnocchi and let them cook. While that is happening- it happens fast- put some olive oil in a frying pan, add some crushed red pepper and let it simmer. (I am not a fan of crushed red peppers on or in anything, but this was good and it heat was not a problem at all.)  As the first few gnocchi start to float, pull them out of the water and put them into the frying pan. Let them simmer until they begin to brown around the edges. Remove the gnocchi from the frying pan and place them on a plate. Sprinkle with some ground Parmesan and enjoy.    

I made gnocchi from this recipe over the weekend and the girls loved it. They both gave it their smile of approval! It was really good and easy to make, even without having the mixer to do most of the work for me. I still have half the dough left and will be making the rest of it tonight. It was that good.