Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Homemade Gnocchi

6-8 servings

4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 3/4 to 2 cups flour
3 quarts water
spaghetti sauce, warmed

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Place 2 cups mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl (save any remaining mashed potatoes for another use). Stir in egg and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually beat in flour until blended (dough will be firm and elastic). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 15 times. Divide dough into four sections. Roll each section into 1/2 inch wide ropes, about 12-18 inches long. Cut ropes into 1 inch pieces. Press down with a lightly floured fork on each piece. In a large pot, bring water and remaining salt to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 8-10 minutes or until gnocchi float to the top and are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately with spaghetti sauce and enjoy.

Gnocchi is pronounced "no-key" and it's like a dumpling in texture. I usually buy it pre-packaged from the store. But, after having the real thing on our trip to Italy last year, I wanted to give the homemade kind a try. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I will probably still use the packaged kind most of the time, especially for company, since this recipe has a lot of last minute fuss to it. It was really fun, though, to make it fresh.

Cheesy Italian Bread

Cheesy Italian Bread
2 loaves

1 package yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the sugar, salt, garlic salt, cheese and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each half into a 14 inch loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush loaves with water. Make three diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep with a very sharp knife in each loaf. Fill a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with 1 inch of hot water and place on the bottom oven rack. Bake loaves at 400° for 20-25 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Serve with your favorite Italian food!

Next Project

A camouflage hunting scarf for my son...
to match his Daddy's. :-)