Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pillowy Clouds of Happiness

Gnocchi - pronounced N'YO-kee – literally translates to “lump”.  They are thought to be one of the oldest prepared foods in history . . . recorded as far back as cookbooks of the thirteenth century.   It is believed that gnocchi are the predecessor of pasta.

In its most basic form, gnocchi is a little dumpling formed from cheese, flour and egg yolks.  Boiled and served with grated cheese.

The most familiar form of gnocchi served today are made with potatoes.  They are dished up with many different types of sauces – tomato or pesto being favored but a simple sauce of butter and herbs brings out the flavor of the dumplings.

They are easy to make . . . easier than pasta by a long shot.  All you need is:

  • 1 Cup Mashed Potatoes (see note below on cooking the potatoes)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 Teaspoons Butter, Clarified
  • 1 Cup Romano Cheese, Grated
  • 3 Cups Flour

-Combine potato with eggs and salt and whip until fluffy.
-Add ricotta cheese, butter, Romano cheese and flour.
-Knead until smooth.
-Shape into 1/2" rolls and cut into 1" lengths.

-Make impression with thumb in each piece, and then lightly dust with flour.

-Drop into boiling salted water and cook only until they rise to the surface.
-Drain and serve!

Cooking the potatoes:  Boil the potatoes whole with the skins on. Make sure they are completely cooked. After they are cooked, peel, cut in quarters and allow to cool before mashing. This will help remove excess moisture. When cool mash or whip with a mixer. Do not use butter or milk.

Note: Before cooking, gnocchi may be flash frozen on a cookie sheet, then placed in plastic bag in freezer.

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