Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gnocchi with Cheese

This recipe comes from Jeff Smith's The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines; China, Greece, and Rome.

I have to tell you that the Frugal Gourmet TV cooking shows were a big hit in our family. We used to get them on Saturday afternoons, and I can't tell you how much we learned about cooking from watching Jeff Smith. I believe to this day that the expansive gestures that Beez uses in the kitchen were learned on those long ago Saturdays. Of course, great flourishes in the kitchen make for great messes to be cleaned up later by the galley slaves, but I still maintain that there is nothing so satisfying as seeing a husband who formerly ate only steak-hamburgers-pizza turn into a chef with choppers! and gestures! and great gusto! in the kitchen.

2 lbs. baking potatoes, washed but unpeeled
1 egg yolk
3 cups regular flour
3 tbl. semolina flour [may substitute Cream of Wheat]
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 lb. butter, melted
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Boil the potatoes, skin on, until fork tender. Drain them well and allow to cool just so that you can touch them. Peel and run through a potato ricer.

Place the potatoes in the bowl from your electric mixer and beat in the egg yolk. Add the flour, semolina, and salt and mix just until you have a smooth dough.

Roll the dough into long cylinders the thickness of your finger. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Roll each piece a bit on the rough side of a vegetable grater to give the dumpling some texture. Do this quickly and set them on a tray to dry a bit. You can forget about the rolling if you wish and just allow the dumplings to dry a bit before you boil them.

Flouring the dumplings before you put each on a tray will help keep them separated when they cook.

Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil and add about 1/4 of the batch. Boil gently until the gnocchi float to the top. Continue to boil for one minute and then, using a strainer, remove them from the pot to a warm bowl. Continue cooking until all are done and then toss the dumplings with the butter and cheese.

Serve as a pasta or starch dish with almost any meal.

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