Sunday, December 9, 2007

Gnocchi, Vodka Sauce and Flour All OVER My Kitchen

Ever since I fried up the last of my in-laws gnocchi a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to make it on my own. I knew this was dangerous territory, because The Professor worships at the shrine of his parents’ gnocchi. But my father-in-law had written down the very simple recipe for me (only 3 ingredients!) and given me a step-by-step tutorial. So I figured I could probably follow it.

And in The Professor’s World (which sounds like a really bad name for a XXX rated spin-off to Gilligan’s Island), gnocchi MUST be served with vodka sauce. Which I had not gotten the sacrosanct recipe for. Dammit! I needed someone that I knew would love my attempt, even though it might not taste exactly the same as every other time she’s ever eaten it before in her life. Change is HEALTHY, Professor!
As this was obviously a job for The Bestest Friend EVER, I told her that her presence was requested for dinner. Even if the sauce tastes just a wee bit different, she loves whatever I put in her mouth. Which makes her sound like she’d have a recurring role on The Professor’s World and that’s just disturbing, so we’re going to move on to discussing the recipes, mmmkay?

Gnocchi Dough:
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Vodka Sauce:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ½ cup vodka
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • ½ cup grated parmesan

OK, first up: The Gnocchi. If you like to keep your kitchen pristine, you do not ever want to see me make this.

Mix all three ingredients together in a mixer until it forms a dough.
Form the dough into medium size balls and sprinkle with flour.
Sprinkle your work surface – in my case, the kitchen counter – with more flour.
Sprinkle your hands with yet more flour.

Roll a ball of dough in your hands between your palms so that it begins to lengthen into a log.
When the log is longer than your hands, lay it on the floured surface and continue rolling, moving your hands from the center to the edges of the roll. Keep rolling until the dough-log-thing is about an inch thick.
Cut the log into one-inch long pieces with a sharp knife.

Ok, here’s the tricky part. You can buy special little boards to help you form ridges; my in-laws have perfected a dimple-roll method that they can perform at lightening speeds. Whatever method you use, you’re basically making a way for the gnocchi to hold more sauce. So if you want, just poke the tip of your finger into the middle of each one.

Move the gnocchi onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes, so that when you put them in the boiling water, they don’t coalesce into one big gnocchi ball that would defeat the purpose of all the rolling and dimpling you just did.

Continue with the rest of the dough until it’s all done.
While the gnocchi is freezing, start your sauce.

Heat olive oil in large skillet.
Add onions, and sauté until translucent.
Add garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add can of diced tomatoes and vegetable stock.
Simmer for 15 minutes.

Heat water for gnocchi in pot (add 2 tbsp oil, if you want)
Whenever the water starts boiling, add frozen gnocchi.

Add basil and oregano to sauce; simmer for 10 minutes.
Pulse sauce in food processor.
Put back in skillet, add vodka and simmer some more.
Stir in parmesan and half and half. Simmer simmer simmer.
Continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes.

Gnocchi should be boiling and floating; scoop them out of the water with a spider or slotted spoon.

Serve sauce over gnocchi, sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan and devour.

1 comment:

Me said...

Good lawd almighty, that looks divine. Now I'm starving!!!