Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gnocchi with Cream Cheese Sauce

I first saw the preparation of Gnocchi (pronounced Nyo-Key) on Rachel Allen's show on TLC. Been dying to try it ever since as it looked really yummy. It didn't fail me.

While I used an egg in this recipe, I have read that you can make gnocchi without egg, though it tends to get difficult if you don't use an egg. It may just disintegrate in the water. It supposedly takes some amount of practice to get the gnocchi right without using an egg.

Also I haven't included any finite measurement for the flour. You have to trust your instinct. Too much flour, and the gnocchi becomes rubbery and hard. Too less and the gnocchi disintegrates. Also, how much flour is needed depends on the type of potato used, the weather, humidity etc. So follow my instructions and pray to the gnocchi gods to help you. I know I did!

For the gnocchi,
  • 2 large potatoes
  • about 1 cup flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch baking powder
For the cream cheese sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic pods chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp paprika (chilli flakes)
  • a sprinkling of dry italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
To make the gnocchi:
  1. Steam the potatoes until soft through and through.Peel them and grate them so that no lumps remain in them.
  2. Break an egg into the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  3. Add baking powder. Add flour (maida) one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should not be tacky and sticky, but not hard either. Stop adding flour when the mixture is just very very slightly sticky, but not so much that you won't be able to roll them into balls.
  4. Knead the dough well so it becomes smooth. Divide the dough into four portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a one inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 8 to 10 small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it slightly with your hand.
  6. Dip a fork in plain flour and press it on the upper surface of the gnocchi balls to make a slight indentation. (This is just decorative, you may skip this step if you want.)
  7. Keep the rolled gnocchi onto a slightly floured surface.
  8. Boil a pan of water with one teaspoon of salt. Put the gnocchi into the water with the help of a slotted spoon.
  9. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the boiling water, they are done. Drain them well and remove onto a baking tray.
For the cream cheese sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  2. Add the cream and milk and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and add both the cheeses. Stir well to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the seasonings. Taste a little sauce, and then adjust the salt.
To assemble:
  1. Place the gnocchi onto a baking tray and pour the sauce onto them.
  2. You may add a few fried mushrooms on top for added flavor.
  3. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for ten minutes or until the top is just  slightly golden brown.

Serve hot!

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