Tag Archives: Italian Food

Easy, Fluffy, Pillowy, homemade gnocchi

I have been in love with gnocchi for a very, very long time. In fact, I craved these little pasta clouds of potato and flour served with tomato sauce throughout a pregnancy. But till recently, my love for gnocchi was satiated by buying the best Italian brands on supermarket shelves and eating it on my forays into Italian restaurants. But just recently, I decided to make these on my own. The process is easy (albeit a little messy), but feels at every moment like you are creating a work of art. I am so in love with this home made version that I have sworn to never really buy gnocchi ever again. Okay, with that said, here’s how I created these divine works of art.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/3 heaped cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

How to:

1. Wash the potatoes, scrub them and pierce holes. Cook in a microwave at the potato setting till completely cooked. Peel the potatoes and rice them in a ricer over a wooden board. If you don’t have a river, you can grate the potatoes with a grater that has small holes. Spread the potatoes over the board using a fork. Sprinkle the kosher salt. 

2. Sprinkle or sift the flour over the potatoes and using a bench scraper just chop all over the potato/ flour mixture.  Gather the mixture into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands, bring the ends of the dough together and press it down again. Just repeat this gently till the potato flour mixture is seamlessly blended. 

3. Dust the work area with more flour, pinch off two inch rounds of dough and gently roll it into a rope. Cut into one inch pieces using a knife and lay down each gnocchi on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Once all the gnocchi are made, press down the surface of each gnocchi with a fork to create ridges that will help the sauce cling to to the pasta well. 

4. Repeat process till all the dough is used up. 

5. Freeze tray of gnocchi for 15 minutes.  

6. Now you could bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook just for a minute or two till the gnocchi floats to the top or alternately use my preferred method and sauté the gnocchi in a bit of butter or oil till they are moderately browned. 

7. Serve with your favorite sauce. 

One dough, two pizzas a continent apart

By Lakshmi:

Home made pizza is a staple in our household.  We make it in a myriad of flavors, each one vanishing off the tray as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Last week, I had a bunch of kids come home from school and decided to do two pizzas with one dough.  The first was a good old Margarita and the second? A Mexican pizza with salsa, avocados and cheese!  Here are simple instructions to create both.  We’d love to hear about your favorite pizza making experiences as well!

Recipe and how to for dough

1 tbsp sugar

2.5 tsps dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsps olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour

Salt to taste

Dissolve the sugar in a cup of warm water, add the dry yeast and let bubble for five minutes.  Next add the 3 cups flour, salt and olive oil and knead the dough with your hand or Kitchen Aid with a dough hook till the dough is gathered and springy.  Set aside for 30 minutes till the dough doubles in size.  Divide into two balls for two pizzas.

Recipe and how to for Margarita pizza

Half a cup of tomato sauce

A cup of fresh mozzarella

A few basil leaves torn

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the sauce in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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Recipe and how to for Mexican pizza

Half a cup of fresh or store bought salsa (I used fresh home-made chunky salsa made with two tomatoes, a garlic clove, half a red onion, a green chilly, two tbsps of cilantro pulsed in a blender with salt and pepper)

One avocado sliced into thin slices

A cup of Mexican cheese blend or queso fresco

A few tbsps of fresh cilantro

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the salsa in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange the sliced avocado, cheese and cilantro on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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I cannot begin to tell you how much the kids loved these pizzas.  And it really is not that much work!

 

A little twist yields a memorable gnocchi dinner!

By Lakshmi:

Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was.  So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration.  Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores).  The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves.  And then the light bulb went off!  I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!

Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes.  Start with the ingredients below.

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Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.

Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.

Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.

When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!

Presto! Here’s the finished dish!  We did not have a morsel left over:)

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