Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feel Like Makin' Gnocchi

You should know I'm not one of many bloggers who receive frequent packages of gourmet products, small kitchen appliances, and cookbooks on my doorstep, in exchange for writing blog posts and linking to the companies providing those gifts. However, when something distinctive crosses my path, I am delighted to share it with you.

About a year ago, I came across a Fine Cooking video featuring corzetti - handmade, coin-shaped pasta from Liguria. The pasta is made by cutting the rolled dough into small disks, and then imprinting each side of the disk with a design. This is achieved with a corzetti stamp, a very unique pasta tool, carved out of wood. Fine Cooking explained these stamps are difficult to find, and settled for using a small cookie cutter in the video demonstration.

Why would I want to make these gorgeous pasta coins without the imprinted design? Within a few minutes, I was able to locate Artisanal Pasta Tools in Sonoma, CA. Terry handcrafts and sells corzetti stamps, and polenta, cavarola and gnocchi boards. His latest addition is an exquisite line of solid wood rolling pins.  I shared one of his corzetti stamps in this post, and now I'm pleased to feature his Garganelli/Gnocchi Board.

I saved this ricotta gnocchi recipe for the arrival of my gnocchi board, and I can honestly say it was worth shelling out $29.99/lb. for chanterelle mushrooms! With a few minutes of practice, I was expertly rolling gnocchi down the board with my thumb. I will treasure my artisanal corzetti stamp and gnocchi board for many, many years, and am eagerly anticipating my next pasta experience making garganelli with the board. When I'm not using these treasures, they are proudly displayed on a shelf in my breakfast nook.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Chanterelles, Sweet Corn, and Sage Brown Butter
Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 pound chanterelles, cleaned
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, divided
1 tablespoon sliced sage leaves
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
2/3 cup diced shallots
1 recipe ricotta gnocchi, blanched (recipe follows)
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet, and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown.

If the mushrooms are big, tear them into bite-size pieces.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat another minute. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of butter, and when it foams, add the mushrooms, half the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a healthy pinch of pepper. Saute the mushrooms about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they're tender and a little crispy. Don't be tempted to move them around in the pan too much in the beginning; let them sear a little before stirring. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a platter.

Return the pan to the stove, and heat on high for 1 minute. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter to the pan, and cook a minute or two, until the butter starts to brown. Add the sage, let it sizzle, and then add the corn, shallots, remaining 1/2 tablespoon of thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Saute quickly tossing the corn in the hot butter for about 2 minutes, until the corn is just tender. Add the gnocchi and toss well to coat with the corn and brown butter. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, and add the mushrooms. Toss to combine, and heat the mushrooms through. Add the parsley. Arrange the gnocchi on a large platter, and shower the breadcrumbs over the top.

Ricotta Gnocchi

2 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound whole milk ricotta, drained if wet
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl (I forgot to whisk before pouring the eggs in the well).

Place 2 cups flour, salt, pepper and ricotta in a large mixing bowl. With a dinner knife in each hand, cut the ricotta into the flour (yes, I know, that's a fork).

When the flour and ricotta are combined, make a well in the center and pour in the eggs. Using a fork, and starting in the middle of the mixture, incorporate the eggs into the flour and ricotta.

Knead the dough with your hands briefly, just to bring it together (be careful not to overmix it). Shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a lightly floured cutting board. Cut the ball into four pieces, and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

One by one, take each piece of dough out from underneath the towel, cut it in half, and roll it into a 3/4-inch thick rope on a lightly floured cutting board (each rope should be about 12 inches long). Cut the ropes into 1-inch long pieces, and sprinkle a little flour over them.

Using your thumb, roll each piece of dough down the gnocchi board, leaving an indentation from your thumb on one side and the markings from the strings on the other (if you don't have a gnocchi board, you can also use the back of the tines of a fork - but you won't have as much fun and your gnocchi won't be as gorgeous - just sayin').

Plunge the gnocchi into the boiling water in batches. Once they rise to the surface, cook them for 1 minute more. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a baking sheet or platter. Drizzle the cooked gnocchi with the olive oil, and toss to coat them well.

Disclosure:  Terry graciously provided me with a corzetti stamp and gnocchi board.  I'm also hoping to receive "The Pear Tree" from his designer rolling pin collection ;-)


Kim said...

Beautiful products make beautiful gnocchi, yes?! :) The board is now on my list of "items to buy." And the cookbook...

Thank you for your kind words about Friday!! We ARE planning to make the drip down to Del Mar in February... will you be there?!


Tia said...

that looks fantastic!!! my sister adroes gnocchi but i'm too scared to attempt it. great job and way to go you!!!

baobabs said...

stunning photos!!! it's been a long time since i had gnocchi and i never attempted making them. Thanks for sharing :)

Eva@ said...

We love making gnocchi too. I picked up a little gnocchi board from our last trip to Venice. Every time I use it, it brings back great memories.

abby said...

your gnocchi look amazing - i tried this recipe last night using the fork method and it was nowhere near as successful as yours! i varied the "sauce" though - pancetta and diced courgette. a bit cheaper but still delicious.