Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream SauceSep 28th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: blog, the show
Austin based singer-songwriter Michael Fracasso is working on a cookbook called Artist in the Kitchen, which will be filled with stories and recipes from his life. And those recipes are primarily Italian. He shares a story and a couple of recipes from his book with us.
My parents came to visit me in Austin, TX when I first moved here 20 years ago. I asked my mom to show me how she made gnocchi so we went to the market where she proceeded to buy ten pounds of potatoes and a ten pound bag of flour. I told her we were going to invite a few friends, not an army! But she believed it would be shameful to run out of food so we made gnocchi all that morning and into the afternoon. The remainder we put into little cardboard boxes and froze. I invited my wife, Paula who I was dating at the time and my friends Greg and Rene for lunch. At some point my wife turns to me and says I wish they could speak English. This baffled me because they were speaking English! But I guess with a bunch of Texans entrenched in their own southern draw, my parents Italian accent might as well have made that afternoon a luncheon in Rome, Italy.
3 pounds of medium Idaho or purple potatoes* (it is best not to use new potatoes as they contain too
2 cups of white unbleached flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon salt, plus a pinch
Corn meal, to keep the pasta separate
● Lightly coat the outside of the potatoes with some vegetable oil or wrap them in aluminum foil (to prevent burning) place them on a baking sheet and bake for 45
minutes to an hour (varies with size) at 350 degrees. They should be soft to the touch.
● Peel the potatoes while still rather warm.
● In a large bowl rice the potatoes, create a well in the middle and add the egg and pinch of salt and mix.
● Sprinkle the flour a little at a time (about 1/2 cup) gently forming a ball that is still smooth but slightly sticky.
● Cut the dough ball into 8 pieces and on a floured surface form each dough ball into a long rope about 2 feet long and about as thick as a ring finger.
● Cut into little pillows of about 1 inch long, now place the pillow on the back end of a fork. While pressing down with the outside of the thumb roll them off so that the thumb gives them a clef and the fork adds ridges.
● In a large pasta pot bring 5 quarts of water to boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and gnocchi. when the gnocchi begin to float continue to cook for another minute and then remove with a slotted spoon into the serving bowl. Best not to pour into a colander as they will get mashed.
* Purple potatoes add and extra exotic element to this dish
** An easy way to make them is with dehydrated potato flakes (make sure it’s the kind with no additives. Bob’s Red Mill makes them. Substitute 2 cups of potato flakes, reconstitute and follow the recipe above.
Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
1 shallot, slivered
1 fennel bulb, reserve frond ends and remove hard inner core
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 28 ounce can San Marrzano Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of anise extract
3 oz. Gorgonzola cheese
● In a large skillet heat butter and olive oil and add the shallots and fennel and saute for about 4 minutes until they have softened.
● In a large bowl add the can of tomatoes, remove the stems and smash the rest with your hands until uniform chunky texture, and add to skillet.
● Add salt and pepper, to the skillet and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
● Add anise and stir for about a minute.
● Add Gorgonzola and stir to melt, remove from heat and pour over pasta.
● Sprinkle with fennel fronds.