The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Gnot Your Average Gnocchi. September 13, 2010

Filed under: Main Dishes — Meg @ 3:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ha-haaaaa! Okay, pepitos (semi di zucca?). It’s getting cold, which means good things for this blog, sometimes. I’m still on a raging Italian binge (with hints of French here and there – Chicken with a Dijon cream sauce, and Potatoes Anna the other night). Last night we had the most amazing Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli, whatever. Suckers), uhhhh, ever. Anyhow, I digress. Jon’s been sick, so I feel it’s my duty to prepare stick-to-your-ribs, fiendishly warming comfort foods. The recipe I’m sharing today is something I feel inclined to call “Gnocchi e Rapini.” Pretty simple. Gnocchi and broccoli rabe, although it also includes some Capicola sausage, because I’m goddamn obsessed with the stuff lately. I’m sure any other kind of sausage would be equally delicious here (except honey garlic, that would be the crime of crimes). The recipe is going to seem long and invasive, but if you buy pre-made frozen gnocchi at the grocery store, that would be a huge timesaver. I’m a bit of a stingy traditionalist nutcase though, and I can’t be bothered to spend $5 on a bag of frozen gnocchi that probably were manufactured in Mississauga or Brampton and include such ingredients as “whey powder,” and “soy lechtin.” No thanks. Gnocchi is probably the easiest pasta ever, anyhow. You don’t need any special equipment to make it, and it’s satisfying as hell. You’ll feel like an Italian Mama  in no time at all… … Or Papa, I suppose!  Three cheers for Men in the Kitchen!
Tempo di cucinare!
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For the Gnocchi:
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Ingredients
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1 lb red-skinned potatoes (or whatever kind, preferably not a baking variety though), unpeeled, cooked and mashed.
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 small egg (or half of a beaten large egg)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading/handling
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Method:
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After potatoes have been throughly mashed (no lumps!), stir in salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of nutmeg. Then stir in the egg until it’s completely incorporated, and then the 1 1/4 cups flour, until there are no traces of dry flour anywhere. You’ll have a firm, but soft dough, it should be a tiny bit sticky. Put it on a floured surface (counter?), and divide into two sections (or four might be easier for you to work with, depending on spatial reasons). Roll out with your hands into snakes, about 1″ in diameter. Then, cut into 1″ pieces down along the snake., add a little more flour if you need to. Next, this is entirely optional, but I like to do it… Take each little piece and roll it briefly between the palms of your hands, till it takes on a rounded, “quenelle,” shell kind of shape. Kind of oval-y. For the next part, take a fork, dipped in a little flour, and using the curved part (the top), make a little imprint on the top of each gnocchi. This sounds like it will take a long time, but I promise, it’s pretty quick. So! Your gnocchi are essentially done now. For best results, I recommend putting them on a floured baking sheet in the freezer. This is also kind of great, because you can bag them and freeze them for another time, if you want. However, I just think they’re MUCH easier to handle with the intial partial or full-freezing of them.
Now, all you have to do is cook them! For that, just drop them into boiling water (not a rapid boil like for pasta though), and cook for 2-4 minutes, until they float to the top of the water. You could also add in lots of other spices or fresh herbs, or chopped spinach (which happens to be very popular in the part of Italy that my family comes from… Also, using ricotta cheese instead of potatoes is common too).
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For the dish itself:
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Ingredients
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1/2 cup sliced Capicola sausage
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups coarsely chopped rapini (broccoli rabe…. you could try this with spinach or another kind of green, I think)
1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 – 1 tsp dried sweet basil
gnocchi – as much as you want. I think maybe 1/2 – 3/4 of the recipe above works well At least 2 cups, anyhow.
Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan…. Parmigianno Regianno ftw)
salt and pepper
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Method
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Heat a pot of water to boiling for gnocchi, and cook them just until they float to the top. Take them out and let them cool slightly. This is beneficial, because it helps them re-firm up a bit. They won’t fall apart or get mushy in the dish.
In a skillet or pot, add 1 tsp olive oil and let heat up over medium heat. Add the capicola, and let it brown slightly, then add garlic, being careful not to let it burn. Just cook briefly for a minute or so. Add rapini and let it wilt slightly, and add the water or chicken stock. Salt and pepper at this point if you like. Add the sweet basil, and continue simmering this mixture, uncovered, stirring fairly frequently (oh, and I should mention that I added a small pinch of baking soda around this point as well, just to rid some of the bitterness from the rapini, optional though).
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Next, add your cooled gnocchi, stir them in gently. The starch from the gnocchi should thicken up the water/stock into a bit of a sauce, but if it gets too thick, add a little more water/stock and continue to stir gently. Grate a small amount of cheese over the top, and give it a bit of a mix. In total, try not to have this cooking for longer than 2 minutes, or else be prepared to feel the wrath of angry, overcooked gnocchi dumplings. They are small but mighty! At this point, your dish is done. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with some more cheese!
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….This is also surprisingly good when eaten cold.
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Okay, that is all for now!
Oh, but here’s a picture of an almond-plum cake I made recently! If you want the recipe posted, lemme know!

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Megohm, over and out! A presto!

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