Monday, July 19, 2010

Gnocchi with Alfredo Sauce

I have this minor obsession with homemade pasta; every time I go to an Italian restaurant I almost always get some kind of filled pasta. It is my firm belief that nothing is better than fresh pasta. So I really want to make my own pasta, except I don't have a pasta machine. And I've tried rolling it by hand - yeah, right, never doing that again.

In come gnocchi. Now, I know that gnocchi is really more of a dumpling than a pasta, but I decided it would do to fill my homemade pasta void.

So I tried my hand at making some. And it was gooooooooood.

I used this recipe from Sugarcrafter as my guide, though it was really more of a rough guide.

I used 6 russet potatoes, and baked them in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes. They probably could have used a little more time, but I was anxious to get started. Instead of using a potato ricer like you're supposed to, because I don't know any home cook who has and uses one, I used my favorite new toy: my microplane grater.
Can I just comment on what a superior tool this is? I zested a lemon on it, and the lemon moved across it like butter. And I've never gotten that much zest from a traditional round-hole zester. It's amazing.

Anyway, it worked, though it's probably not the most efficient way to get the potatoes all mashed up because they kept falling apart when I'd get the the nub of it.

This is what I did to create the gnocchi:
Bake 6 medium-sized russet potatoes in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes. Peel while still warm, and grate on a microplane grater. Add enough flour so that, when stirred, clumps form. Add in 2 eggs, and blend with your hands. Add about 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper (and nutmeg if you like it - I don't care for it), and add more flour so that the dough is no longer sticky. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, and let rest for another 5. Pull off pieces about the size of your fist, and roll into a "snake" about 3/4" wide. Cut pieces about every inch. Make the traditional ridges using a fork, and set on tin foil until all the gnocchi have been made. Also, if you desire, you can add fresh herbs to the dough. We added some fresh basil to about 1/4 of the dough.
This is how much gnocchi we got out of it. What we didn't eat for lunch was put in the freezer as you see it, then once it froze, was put into a resealable bag.
These are our basil gnocchi. I really liked having some with, and some without so that neither type got too boring.

The more traditional sauce to accompany gnocchi is a brown butter with sage sauce.

We decided to go with alfredo.

Again, I didn't follow an exact recipe, but it was roughly something like this:
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add milk, and bring to a boil to thicken, stirring often. Off the heat, stir in the cheese until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. That's it!

And it was good.

But I could still go for some four cheese ravioli.

1 comment:

  1. The melted cheese is what really draws my attention. I first started the pasta business when I was in Argentina. I was staying in a buenos aires apartment and a friend who lives there told me that it would be great to start cooking for other people. It was awesome and now it is my favourite meal.