Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gnocchi Marinara

My brother works at a really upscale restaurant in Salt Lake City as their accountant. He used to be one of the pickiest eaters, but since starting his job there he seems to like to try almost anything. I've been to the restaurant twice since my brother is so generous (and I mean REALLY generous) and one of the things I tried was Gnocchi. I absolutely loved it. So when I saw a recipe for it on A Catholic Cooks, I knew that I had to give it a try. This didn't turn out quite like a wanted it to but after I got used to the texture, it was at least edible. My brother came down for this momentous occaision and I was really glad because if he hadn't been here, it probably would have turned out worse. He has seen the chefs at the restaurant make this before and has also tried once to make it on his own. So while this wasn't a huge success, I am comforted by the fact that it was better than my brother's attempt so maybe I know a LITTLE more about cooking than he does. :-P
I don't know whether or not I'll try to make this particular recipe again, but I do have a few suggestions for those of you who want to give it a try. First of all, make the gnocchi pretty small. I think part of the reason mine had a gluey texture is because they were so big. Secondly, use a strong sauce. Me, being a little naive, just picked up some Ragu sauce from the store and Gnocchi are pretty bland themselves so you might want to roll out "Your Great Great Great Grandmother's Secret Sauce" for these. ;-) (I'm still in need of some fantastic recipe for marinara sauce, although I admit I've never really tried to make one of the ones I've found.)

Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Sauce of your choice (marinara, alfredo, etc.)

1. To about 4-6 cups of mashed potatoes, add 1 egg, nutmeg as preferred, and 1/2 cup of flour at a time, mix until it has a semi-firm consistency that hold its shape. (About like play dough)
2. Roll out into snakes about 1 inch wide and cut into pieces about 1 inch long.
3. Turn each cut piece onto its side, pressing finger in center to make a well.
4. In a pot of boiling water, with salt and oil added, drop 8-10 gnocchis in. When they float, they are done, drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

I served this with chicken thighs coated in bread crumbs cooked at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If you're not going to use leftover mashed potatoes, once you have boiled the potatoes let them sit for a little while in a strainer over the sink to get most of the moisture out. Once you make the mashed potatoes (with milk and butter) let it sit again for a while to dry out. One of the problems my brother had when he made Gnocchi is there was too much moisture so he had to add a lot of flour in order to make it the right consistency. If any of you more seasoned cooks out there have some tips to add they would be greatly appreciated because I was pretty bummed that this was the first thing is months that I failed to WOW on.

My next daring attempt will be at Ricotta Gnocchi.


Donna-FFW said...

So sorry it didnt turn out as well as you liked. It certainly looks delicious. Don't know if you are a Rachael Ray fan, but her marinara sauce is pretty good.

teresa said...

Hey, I'm really impressed that you tried, that's the first step to perfection! Since i am usually in a hurry, I usually just buy the vacuum packaged stuff, which is pretty good. But I would love to be as ambitious and make my own some day. You'll be the gnocchi master in no time!

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