With our household size dwindling, and with the picky palates outnumbering the adventuresome one, there is an occasional French Fridays with Dorie recipe that gets a bye week. The Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes would raise at least a couple eyebrows (and fuzzy male ones at that). I’m not sure making a quarter recipe would be worth the effort…as I’d need to make another meal for the other 2/3 of the family. So I whipped up some long overdue gnocchi that I had promised Katie, who is basically a vegetarian who doesn’t like vegetables. Bill was lifting pot lids, hunting for some Italian sausage or some sort of meat, but I assured him a good sprinkling of Parm would give him some protein…and that even carnivores can take a night off.
I used Katherine Martinelli’s gnocchi recipe…and tweaked it just a smidge. The marinara was a wing it type recipe…I’m loving the sweetness of Pomi’s boxed tomatoes…they make a world of difference. I tried my hand at making the striated markings on my pasta with a fork…one of the tutorials I read mentioned making a practice batch to get the hang of it. Yup, good advice, as I finally had my groove (haha) by the end. I’d make them smaller next time (and follow the 1/2 inch suggested length more literally) and maybe fine tune my technique. You can also just cut and boil without this extra step.
Ricotta Gnocchi…adapted from Katherine Martinelli
12 ounces Ricotta
2 cups all purpose flour (use “00″ pasta flour if you have it…I did not), divided
1 teaspoon salt
Mix ricotta, 1 cup of flour, egg and salt in a large bowl. Add up to another full cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon, till you have a smooth, not too sticky dough. I added 3/4 cup more, then kneaded briefly on a well floured counter top till it all comes together, is smooth and slightly elastic.
Form into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Cut the ball into 8 wedges. Roll out the first wedge into a long snake on a lightly floured surface, to about the diameter of your finger. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces, roll each over the back surface of a fork if desired and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough.
Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling, well salted water, for 3-5 minutes. They will float to the surface (mine did so quickly, continue to cook for at least a couple minutes to ensure they are done). Drain and serve with marinara or your favorite pasta sauce.
Marinara…different every time I make it, but here’s today’s version!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 whole garlic cloves
1 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
53 ounces (2 Pomi boxes) chopped tomatoes
Large pinch of sugar
3 basil sprigs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil and cook garlic cloves till slightly golden. Add onions and cook till soft. Add tomato paste and mix to combine and cook briefly. Carefully add tomatoes (oil will splatter), pinch of sugar, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Remove garlic cloves and serve over gnocchi or favorite pasta.