Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Davio's Chef Murillo's Gnocchi, with A Caprese Sauce

Oh the humble potato...It is such an unassuming vegetable.  Not particularly attractive, it is often overlooked and take for granted.  The potato though has so much to offer, it's external image-brown and dirty, oddly shaped and full of bulbous oddities, it is a perfect example of the cover not revealing the inner depths of the book.  See, I think that the real beauty of a potato is its extreme versatility- you can mash them, fry them, shred them, roast them, and, of course, make them into that lovely pasta- Gnocchi. 

Legend has it that the word Gnocchi came from the Italian word for Nocca meaning knuckle.  I have heard that this stems from the shape of these little treasures resembling (kind of) a knuckle.  Either way, this pasta made from combining potato with flour and egg (base form), is often referred to as little clouds of heaven, as their light taste and texture defies their heavy ingredient list. 

When I heard from the folks at Share Our Strength to alert you guys to Taste of the Nation coming to Boston on 4/14, they asked if I'd like to include a recipe from on of the amazing chefs who is going to be in attendance that evening.  I, obviously, said yes.  Of course, you all know me, I couldn't just type out the recipe-I had to make it- and add my own twist to it.  I was sent Davio's Executive Chef, Rodney Murillo's recipe for Homemade Gnocchi.  This made me ultimately happy as I have been wanting to make gnocchi for ages.  The recipe that was sent to me was on the large side, so I ended up using his recipe (first listed below) as a guide, with some assistance from a recipe from Giada DeLaurentis as well for measurements.

10# lbs Russet Potatoes

7 Whole Eggs
10 Cups Sifted Flour
7 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)

1. Boil Potatoes until tender.
2. While hot, strain, peel and put through ricer.
3. Set aside, let thoroughly cool (this can be done the day before).
4. On a board, form a “mountain” with cooled “riced” potatoes.
5. Add sifted flour, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
6. Make a hole at the top of the mountain and add the eggs into hole.
7. Working from the eggs out, begin mixing eggs with potato until well blended.
8. Cover with a slightly damp cloth or a bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
9. Roll dough into 2 foot long rolls about the size of a quarter in diameter.
10. Cut into ½ inch pieces.
11. Delicately dust with flour and place into a plastic container (only one layer with plenty of room).
12. Cover and Freeze until ready to cook. (Once frozen, the gnocchi can be transferred into zip lock bags, the gnocchi can be kept frozen up to one month).

I ended up using 2 potatoes, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sifted flour, a couple handfuls of Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  I don't own a ricer, so I used a regular old potato masher and it did the trick.  Otherwise I follows Chef Murillo's directions above. 

To cook the gnocchi, I boiled them until they floated and then an additional 4-6 minutes (I failed to time it so I think I boiled them a little long) and then I transferred them to the sauce I made.

2 Kumato's (fun tomatoes when good tomatoes are out of season), chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, worked into a paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoon's chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh Mozzarella

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil, and then add the garlic paste, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley.  As the flavors start to meld, add the kumato's.  Let these ingredients simmer over medium low heat until a sauce texture is formed.  Add the gnocchi, toss and simmer for 2-3 minutes, add cubes of mozzarella, toss and let melt.  Serve, top with fresh chopped basil and parsley.

I made this on Sunday afternoon, and start to finish, it took just about two hours- including boiling the potatoes, and them letting them cool before adding the other ingredients.  I was absolutely intimidated at the prospect of making gnocchi, until I did it- it was simple, and the result, especially with that sauce was fantastic.  Hearty without being heavy, and decadent for a chilly Sunday evening.

I froze a bunch of the gnocchi- I can't wait to make this again!


Jen said...

Yum. I would love to help eat this! Looks delicious. I've never made gnocchi. But I really need to.

Delicious Dishings said...

That looks so good! I absolutely love gnocchi! Great job!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I just made this gnocchi too and posted on my blog! See you at Taste of the Nation :)

Kathy said...

I've never made Gnocchi either! This looks fantastic. Well done! MMM. I need to experiment even more.

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

You had me at gnocchi...or was it caprese? Maybe it was both? Looks awesome...gnocchi party soon?

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