Hand made Gnocchi

These delightful little mini pillows of deliciousness are so fluffy and simple to make – easily ready to become your new favorite recipe!!

Bake 3 russet potatoes until tender all the way through and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

When cool enough either put them through a potato ricer, or grate them into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper and toss lightly with 1 3/4 cups flour and a grating of fresh nutmeg. (don’t worry if you don’t have fresh nutmeg – use 1/8 tsp of ground)

Lightly beat 2 eggs with 2 tbsp olive oil, and then stir into flour/potato mixture.  Mix gently until all is blended, and knead in another 1/2 cup flour.  Your dough should be soft and supple, easy to work with and not too sticky.

If you have trouble either way – just add either a bit more flour if it is too sticky, or a bit of oil if it is too dry.

Divide this mixture into 4 balls.  Roll each ball into a long skinny rope (snake if kids are helping!). Cut along length into pieces about 3/4 in each.  Dust lightly with flour.

Keep a bit of flour handy – continue dusting your hand with it so the gnocchi doesn’t stick.  Take a fork, and dust it with flour.  Turn it upside down in your hand and roll the gnocchi down the tines of the fork.  Set aside until ready to cook.

When you have all the gnocchi rolled out – and remember that they don’t need to look perfect – you are ready to cook them.

Hand made gnocchi – they don’t have to be perfect – just delicious any shape you get – neither Joe Bastianich or Mario Batali are going to criticize your form!!

Boil a HUGE pot of water – when it comes to a boil toss in a generous amount of salt.

At this point drop the gnocchi in the boiling water – it will return to the top when it is ready – let it bounce around for a moment and you are ready.

Really the gnocchi is great to eat just as is – toss it with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper – delish.

HOWEVER …. if you really want to kick it up a level:

In a heavy bottom pan (like cast iron) heat 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil – stir the white parts of 2 leeks, and 2 garlic cloves until just tender.  When the pot is really hot, push the leek mixture to one side, and drop the just boiled gnocchi onto the hot pan in small batches.  As they crisp up push them over into the leek mixture and toss in the pan – using your hot spot to continue crisping up small batches of the gnocchi.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper and I guarantee you will love it!

Italian Pot Roast

Image

1 stick cinnamon

3 all spice berries

4 whole cloves

8 peppercorns

Combine spices in blender and process until a fine powder – set aside.

3 # outside round, or other less tender cut of beef

olive oil

salt and pepper

3 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

28 oz can of tomatoes

1 cup of good red wine (make sure it is one you would like to drink!)

While oil is heating in fry pan, season beef with salt and pepper – brown all sides in fry pan and place in slow cooker. (you can also use a good braising pan to do this in the oven)

In the same fry pan, saute onions until tender.  Add the rest of the vegetables and saute until just starting to carmelize.  Add the spice mixture, stir well until all the vegetables are coated and cook for a few minutes.  Add the red wine and cook until it has reduced about 1/3.  Add tomatoes, and salt to taste.

Pour sauce over meat.  In a slow cooker this will take about 8 hours, but if you are using a braising method it will take 3-4 hours (keep tasting for flavour and tenderness).  The meat should be fork tender.

The sauce is quite thick so if you are using a braising method, you may need to add a bit more cooking liquid as it cooks, eg a good beef stock.

When cooked, and your beef is falling apart tender, shred with 2 forks and stir in with the sauce.  I love to serve with hand made pasta – in which case I remove the sauce from the cooking pot and add to a sauce pan.  As soon as my pasta is cooked I turn it into the pan to allow it to be fully seasoned by the yummy flavours.  Turn into serving platter and pile your shredded beef on top.

Not only will your house smell fantastic while this is cooking you will be rewarded with a fantastic dinner.