Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Italian Meal

This week's box contains:
  • Padron Peppers (traded for more russet potatoes)
  • "Walla Wallita" Onions
  • Gold Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Russet Potatoes
Lots to love this week, especially given the swap for more baby russet potatoes.  Don't get me wrong, the Padron peppers are fantastic; just not something I want to eat week after week...

    I decided to to go with an Italian theme.  Last night's dinner included:
    The recipe for the focaccia is from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan ~ a must have for anyone who loves Italian food.

    Potato Gnocchi

    Adapted from La Cucina Italiana, May/June 2001 by J. McKimmie

    Place 2 1/4 pounds of potatoes with the peel still on in a 3-quart pot. Add cold water to cover and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook until tender. While the potatoes are still hot, pass them through a ricer onto 1 3/4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour. You can peel them first if you like. Cool the potatoes to room temperature, then combine the potatoes and flour until a dough forms, helping yourself with a dough scraper.

    Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg for flavor, and gather into a dough. Add 1 egg only if the dough fails to come together (adding eggs makes gnocchi less delicate). Cut the dough into 8 pieces, roll each into a finger-thick log, and cut into 1/2" pieces with a sharp knife or a dough scraper; you can line up 2 logs to speed up the process. Roll each of the gnocchi over a fork, a grater, or a gnocchi paddle to obtain grooves. The gnocchi are ready to cook.

    Here's a really simple video on how to roll the gnocchi:

    Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Drop in the gnocchi and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir the gnocchi once very gently with a slotted spoon, being careful not to crush them in the process.

    When the gnocchi rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon to a heated serving bowl. Remove the gnocchi little by little as they are ready. Continue adding gnocchi to the bowl as they rise to the surface, draining them well first with the slotted spoon.

    Cook's Illustrated has a great video on the entire gnocchi making process; their recipe varies from the one listed above.

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