I wanted to try making gnocchi for the first time, and when Ram called guests over I panicked and bought a pack from the store as a back-up just in case my 'home made' gnocchi flopped! Such performance anxiety. Well the good news is that it turned out quite well. All thanks to David Rocco again, who makes Italian cooking seem so easy-peasy, that over the past few weeks I have become fairly confident and successful at my cooking endeavors.
The original recipe called for Porcini mushrooms, but I could find only portobello in the store. I looked it up and it seemed like a reasonably good substitute.
For the gnocchi you need:
4-5 portobello mushrooms (medium size)
6 medium baking potatoes, boiled in salted water
2 cups flour, (approx)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, finely grated
Place the mushrooms in a large bowl and pour some hot water to cover them. Allow the mushrooms to soak for a few minutes. Then finely chop.
Mash the boiled potatoes till fine and pasty. You can even pass it over a seive for a finer texture. Remember to add the salt and pepper.
Add the grated parmesan and the mushrooms to the mashed potatoes. On a flat work platform, Add the flour to this mash, a little bit at a time. Work on the dough, adding more and more flour and keep kneading, till it becomes slightly elastic. It should be soft and sticky.
Divide the dough into portions and roll them like long logs on a floured surface. Approximately 1/2-inch thick. Cut them 1-inch long.
Make ridges on each gnocchi by using the back of a fork in a rolling action. The imprints will allow the sauce to get trapped on the surface of the gnocchi.
Cook the gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water for about 1-2 minutes or until they float to the surface. Take out the gnocchi and add them to the sauce (which you could prepare parallely to save time)
For the sauce you need:
4 tbsps butter
6-7 fresh sage leaves
5 cloves of garlic (grated)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Few drops of freshly squeezed lemon
In a hot skillet, melt the butter. Add the grated garlic and chopped sage leaves. The butter will turn brown within a few minutes. To this add the cooked gnocchi. Add about 2-3 ladle fulls of the pasta water. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes and add the parmesan cheese and olive oil. Now the sauce will become thick and creamy. The brown butter and sage bits would have nicely coated the gnocchi and is now ready to serve. (If it becomes too stiff and sticky, add more oil, or another ladle of water till you get the desired consistency)
Ram's suggested sqeezing a few drops of fresh lemon to add that little extra punch of acidity to the dish. A light summer salad goes well as a side. Try out the corn arugula recipe from my previous post.