Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holy Gnocchi!

Gnocchi....Fluffy Potato Filled Pillows of Perfection.
To say I am an obsessed pasta freak would be an understatement.
I constantly crave the buttery, starchy, melt-in-your-mouth experience of a quality pasta.
To me, there is nothing more heavenly then sinking your teeth into a 
perfectly shaped pillow of goodness with a delicious filling inside.

Whether it is my homemade raviolis with herbed lemon thyme ricotta filling;
or the sweet and saltiness of a delicate gnocchi laden with butter or marinara
 one thing is always certain in my opinion: 
a handmade pasta is the most simple decadence.

And from experience, there is nothing more personal and intimate then hand-creating a pure and savory pasta for someone you love.  
Especially when it happens to be a little Gnocchi.

Some of the most delicious Gnocchi (besides in Northern Italy) 
that this little Jewish-wannabe-Italian has ever tasted (oy vey!),
 just so happens to be at one of my favored culinary spots in NYC, 
Ouest on the Upper West Side, of course.
And ironically, Ouest is the same restaurant where my good friend Scott Varricchio (now at Citrus Grillhouse - Vero Beach, FL) was sous-chef for many years.
And they have the incredible, melt-in-your-mouth House Made Potato Gnocchi 
with Braised Short Rib & Herbed Ricotta on top!  
Insanely decadent and always one of my favorites.
Ouest NYC, Broadway @ W. 84th Street - Iconic Upper West Side
And other little Gnocchi dishes I dream of:
 This one I'm making ASAP
Soft Gnocchi pillows in White Wine, Lemon, Butter cream sauce 
with Thyme and Grated Parmigiano...Mmm!

 This is the very traditional way of making Potato Gnocchi by hand...

 However, you can find excellent quality Gnocchi already pre-made by hand *with love* at your local Italian grocer or gourmet market. 

And an impressive entree that is at the top of my to-do list 
(this would make for an excellent homemade dinner date idea 
that would surely win over any man's heart)..

Chicken Saltimbocca with Sage-Butter Gnocchi and Brussels Sprouts

And of course life is not complete without a Gnocchi gratin dish..NOT for the faint of heart:

 Baked Gnocchi à la Parisienne with Truffle Oil! 

And now, for the main dinner tonight! Gnocchi à la Jen...
Freshly handmade Gnocchi (from Citerella)
Now for The Sauce...

Chopped garlic, onion and fresh basil

The tomato base:  key ingredients I use. Be VERY careful opening that lid on the can everyone!
Simmering the sauce with love.

et Viola!

My classic Gnocchi with homemade Tomato Sauce

Gnocchi with Homemade Tomato Sauce
Recipe serves 2.  Preparation: 15 min.  Cooking time: 45 min.

1 pound freshly made Gnocchi pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 - 35 ounces) Cento whole plum tomatoes, drained & crushed by hand   
1 box (26 ounces) Pomi strained tomato sauce
8 leaves of fresh Basil, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground salt & pepper
pinch of granulated sugar   
Freshly grated Parmigiano 

Preparation & Cooking instructions: 
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil & butter on medium high heat.
2. Add in the garlic and onion, salt & pepper to taste, saute until soft and lightly brown, stirring often.
3. Add in White wine and stir. Boil for 2 minutes.
4. Lower heat to medium. Add in hand-crushed plum tomatoes, saute for 1 - 2 minutes. Add in Pomi strained tomato sauce. and Basil. Stir to combine.
5. Simmer the sauce uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally and adding more salt & pepper to taste.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water and a touch of olive oil to a boil for the Gnocchi.
7.  Once the Tomato Sauce is cooked, turn off  the heat, finish off the sauce by stirring in the pinch of sugar, and allowing the sauce to thicken and cool for 10-15 minutes.
8. Add Gnocchi to the pot and gently boil for 4-5 minutes until soft and slightly al dente.
9. Drain Gnocchi and serve with Tomato Sauce, Basil sprigs and freshly grated Parmigiano.
Enjoy! xoxo,

1 comment:

  1. I agree Ouest is a great NYC restaurant.
    Very nice job on this post Jen.