Food, Love and Life in Brooklyn
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It’s that time of year where I have to choose between the things that make me happy and keep me balanced. Work is busy, my mind is cramped, and I can’t seem to get in all the cooking, writing, yoga AND quality time with friends that I would like. Oh, if only I didn’t have to work…
Last week was a blur and I was determined to hit the morning Bikram classes. That meant evenings were for cooking my boring lunches and going to bed early. Saturday and Sunday left me at the office and extremely cranky. (I don’t know what would have happened if I DIDN’T go to yoga.)
It wasn’t until Monday, oh sweet Monday, where I could indulge in a six-hour marathon of Downtown Abbey and think about making gnocchi. I, of course, went with Lydia Bastianich. Her recipes are always authentic and very simple even though the serious ones may take some time and love. It seemed too perfect for my indulgent Monday so off I went.
I went about things right away (after I decided to blow off Bikram) and immediately my arms were regretting it. I do not have a potato ricer so I used my bouillon strainer to push the cooked potatoes through. This was a bit tough and took much longer that I would have liked. It would have made much more sense to mash them first and then push them through the strainer…. Just an FYI for those without potato ricers whatever the F those are…
(Some recipes recommended using an immersion blender, or just a potato masher. I do not know how that would get smooth enough for what is needed.)
I let the potatoes sit for three hours on a cookie sheet, which was a good move. The longer they sit the lighter the potato and the more excellent the gnocchi.
Things didn’t get difficult until the shaping. J came over a little after 7, about one hour into my attempting to finish these off. I had officially given up and had a little pile of squares on the counter for cooking. He managed to finish off the shaping much easier than I, which was a little upsetting.
Overall, I found them to be tasty. I’m not a huge gnocchi expert. J is and said, “Well, they taste like gnocchi.” I’ll take it. Here’s the original recipe – proceed with patience and enjoy!
1 ½ lbs baking potatoes – all the same size
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs beaten well
1 ½ cup all purpose flour, plus more for working the dough
Put the potatoes, whole, unpeeled, in a large pot with water covering them. Bring to a boil and cook until they are easily pierced with a fork. Do not let the skins burst.
Let the potatoes drain briefly.
Peel and press through the food mill, potato ricer or whatever you have as soon as you can, while they are very hot so their moisture will evaporate.
Spread the riced potatoes on a thin layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with the salt all over and let them cool and dry for at least 20 minutes but up to 3 hours.
On your work surface, gather the cold riced potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the beaten eggs and 1 cup flour into the well. Work the mixture together with both hands, scraping the dough up from the work surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take no longer than 10 minutes. The longer the dough is worked, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become).
The dough should be smooth, soft and only slightly sticky. I took my time and was able to see a clear difference between smooth, soft and very sticky and smooth, soft and only slightly sticky. Who would have thought?
Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough into six equal parts. Continue to dust dough, hands, and surface as long as the dough feels sticky.
Using both hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope 1/2-inch thick, then slice the ropes at 1/2-inch intervals.
Indent each dumpling with a thumb, or use the tines of a fork to produce a ribbed effect. This facilitates adhesion of the sauce and this is also about where I wanted to kill myself. I was determined to have the ribbed effect. I watched this lady and she helped. Enjoy.
Drop the gnocchi into boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer them to a warm platter, adding a little sauce of choice, and boil the remaining piece in batches until all are done. Sauce as desired, add freshly ground white pepper to taste and, if appropriate, grated cheese, and serve immediately.
I was out looking for a potato ricer today ! William Sonoma $ 29.95. I found the recipe on LiveWellNetwork.com/recipes They have a nice video of making them. You might like to take a look at it. Yours look great and I am sure they were very tasty. Good Luck ! Aunt Barb
Ohhh that’s not too bad at all! Thanks!