Monday, April 18, 2011

Time to learn something new

I found a gray hair yesterday. Kevin said they are a sign of wisdom. I have no idea what I am wise about. So I thought I'd better get wise, right away.

Time to learn something new.

I baked some potatoes and took off their jackets.

Mashed them up nice and fine.

Sprinkled them with flour and salt, and squished them into a dough.

I had to roll out 4 ropes. They kept trying to fall apart. I ended up having to use more flour,

just like the smart people said. Eventually I got it right.

I got excited.

And took lots of pictures of the pretty little guys.

Oops, I was supposed to roll them all out before I started cutting.

Now for the fun part.

Roll the fork, pressing the lines around their bellies.

Then flip them out from under the fork when you get to the end.

They each come out different.

You'll be so excited that you won't remember to take a picture till it's almost too late. Don't grab the camera at the last minute. It won't come out well at all.

Well, I guess I've still got more to learn.

Homemade Gnocchi
as learned from Cook's Illustrated

2 pounds potatoes, washed, pricked, and baked (400 degrees) till very soft (45 minutes)
1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning the cooking water

Holding the hot potatoes with a towel, use a peeler and your fingers to rid them of their jackets. Place them in a large bowl. Mash them up until there are no more lumps (or rice them, if you are the lucky owner of a ricer) and let them cool until no longer hot (15 minutes).

Sprinkle 1 1/4 cups of flour and the salt over the warm potatoes and dive in with your clean hands, squishing and turning the mixture until it's doughlike. The experts say not to overwork the dough, but I'm pretty sure I did, to no ill effect.

Try to roll a quarter of the dough into a rope. If it crumbles apart instead of turning into a long snake, put it back in the bowl and add more flour gradually, up to 1/4 cup. Try again; when it rolls out without trouble, it's the right consistency. Roll the snake out to a 3/4" diameter. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you have 4 long ropes.

Score the ropes at 3/4" intervals, then cut at the scored intervals, using a sharp knife.

Using a fork with long tines (my salad forks weren't long enough), roll the gnocchi between the tines and your middle finger, applying just enough pressure to change the shape of the pillow. Follow the pictures above. This takes a few times before you are satisfied, but no matter the shape, they will taste good.

When you're finished, spread out all the gnocchi on a cookie sheet and refrigerate (or freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag) until ready to cook. They can touch, but don't stack them.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Salt it well, stir, and add some gnocchi (about a third of them at a time, so they have enough room). Boil until they float, about 1 1/2-2 minutes (3 minutes if frozen). Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and toss them with a sauce of your choice. We used melted butter, with some sauteed onion, peas, and proscuitto. Salt and pepper to taste. Grate over some cheese if you wish. We're currently into pecorino romano.

One-third of the sauced gnocchi served the both of us, with a vegetable (giant artichoke). So I guess it's safe to say that the entire recipe would serve oh, 4-6.

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