Gnocchi and Pesto

After almost a month in our apartment uptown, my roommate and I decided that it was time far an all out dinner party. Yes, we’ve obviously made very nice dinners for each other before, but this time we decided to invite over some friends and have many dishes to share. Our planning started weeks ago when we decided that at some point we were going to make gnocchi and all of the other dishes fell into place, as the day got closer.

It was quite the extravaganza. I didn’t get home from work until 6 and my friend Emily and her brother were already there. Thank goodness I had made the dessert in the morning, because once I got home it was a whirlwind of cooking as we made pesto, gnocchi, pickled beet salad, and a caprese salad. While the kitchen turned into a war zone, the meal came out perfectly.  Each dish came out just as we had planned and while the gnocchi was a little more difficult then we had planned, it still worked.

For future reference, I would leave lots of time to make a big pot of gnocchi. While slipping them into the water right before the meal was perfect because they really take all of 90 seconds to cook – boiling the potatoes, mashing them, and rolling out the dough takes some time and patience. Investing in a decent potato ricer is advised as well, given that our mixer turned the potatoes into mashed potatoes, making our dough very wet and sticky. Using my dad’s pesto recipe though, which is really one of the easiest things to make, they came out just fine!

PESTO

(Adapted from my dad)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • ¼ olive oil
  • 3 large bunches basil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1)     In a cuisinart mixer, blend pine nuts and olive oil together until a paste is made

2)      Slowly add basil leaves, blending to smooth paste.

3)      Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

4)     Enjoy 🙂

POTATO GNOCCHI

(Adapted from Mario Batalli)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, extra large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS:

1) Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.

2) Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.

3) Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.

4) Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup canola oil and store covered in fridge up to 48 hours until read to serve.

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