Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe: Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE gnocchi? LOVE it. Like, I could swim in it. I can't get enough of it, but it's time-consuming to make, so I don't get to enjoy it very often. What's that you say? Buy it pre-made? Blasphemy!

Gnocchi is an excellent winter food, and since it's been well below freezing here, I decided to make up a batch of gnocchi to make myself feel better.

I've gone through a few different recipes, and this one from Giada is definitely the easiest. We usually freeze half of them - we eat the fresh batch with the butter sauce and then eat the frozen batch with tomato sauce and bits of mozzarella. Yum!

Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce

* 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

Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. (I always bake my potatoes in the oven. I'm sure the microwave works just as well)

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. (If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer this is as simple as turning the power up to four)

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. (I don't usually bother with the perfect ridges. They don't look as nice, but my time is valuable)

(At this point you can freeze the extras - I lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for a few hours, then transfer them to a freezer bag after they're frozen through)

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.

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. (Alternatively, cook your gnocchi in the skillet with a little bit of butter or olive oil. Sometimes I like mine to be brown on the outside to add more texture.)

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

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