Sunday, May 15, 2005

Potato gnocchi, two ways

[Originally posted here, after the entry here.]

Rather than just posting the one recipe I used, I decided to post another one for comparison. The first is the one I made Saturday night; I've not tried the second.

This is a recipe that I got online after seeing it on TV. It's easy and relatively quick (unless you bake the potato in the oven, like I did). I substituted sage for the thyme, and Parmigiano Reggiano for the Pecorino Romano.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 (1-pound) russet potato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano

Cook the butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the thyme leaves. Set aside.

Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Mash in the salt and pepper. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg; discard the remaining egg. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and knead just until blended.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a 1/2-inch-diameter rope (about 20 inches long). Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.

Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water until the gnocchi rise to the surface, about 1 minute. Continue cooking until the gnocchi are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the hot thyme-butter in the skillet. Toss to coat.

Spoon the gnocchi and butter sauce into shallow bowls. Top with the Pecorino and serve.

The second recipe is from my beloved Larousse Gastronomique, which I trust with pretty much anything food-related, even if the recipes are sometimes a little awkward.

Cook 3 medium-sized potatoes in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, grate 6-7 medium-sized peeled potatoes and squeeze them in a cloth to extract as much water as possible. Peel and mash the cooked potatoes, then mix them with the grated raw potatoes. Add 100-125 g (4 - 4 1/2 oz, 1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, a little grated nutmeg, salt and pepper, then 2 whole eggs, one after the other. Mix thoroughly. Boil some salted water and use 2 spoons to shape the paste into small, round portions. Drop them into the water and leave to simmer for 6-8 minutes. Drain the gnocchi and place them on a cloth. Butter a gratin dish and arrange the gnocchi in it, coated with 200 ml (7 fl oz, 3/4 cup) creme fraiche and sprinkled with grated cheese. Brown in a very hot oven.