Even wait staff in the best Italian restaurants in the States struggle to pronounce gnocchi correctly! You may hear “no-key” or “ghh-no-key”. . . but it’s very rare for a wait person to say is like this, “nyo-key” but where it rhymes with “chalky”. Okay, now, try saying it out loud to yourself!
With Fall in the air and Winter on the way, gnocchi is a great Italian primo that will “stick to your ribs”. Marco made “roast chicken with truffle gnocchi, sage butter and cavolo nero” from a recipe book, “500 tapas” by Christine Watson. He improvised with some truffle butter that we had brought home from Piemonte this summer.
This past summer, we spent a couple of days in the region of Piemonte. It is where Ascheri winery is located (from the blog post titled, Local Wine). I would love to be there in the Fall for its rolling hills dappled with vineyards and olive trees, the harvest time of grapes and olives, and, mostly for the harvest of the tartufo, or truffle, and the ensuing festivals that take place to honor this fabulous fungus.
Tartufo is a culinary delicacy that flavors food with a rich earthy tastes and aromas that are hard to describe but unforgettable once tasted. They are expensive due to their rarity. They grow in few environments, are “hunted” with the help of trained pigs or dogs, and are harvested carefully to maintain the unique underground soil conditions necessary for future plants.
I’ll share how he made the gnocchi and you can use that base for any sauce. It is great with a pesto sauce or bolognese!
First, bake 4 floury potatoes (such as russet).
Then, send the potatoes through a potato masher. If you don’t have one, they can be mashed in a large mixing bowl.
Next, make a well in the center of the potatoes and add 1/2 cup of Italian “00” (or all-purpose) flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 1/2 tsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Stir in 1 egg yolk.
With clean, floured hands, press the mixture together to form a dough, adding a little more flour if the mixture is too wet.
Roll into long log(s).
Cut into 1 inch lengths, press down the tops with a fork, and press the sides to resemble pillows.
Now, you’re ready to make the sauce! When it comes time to boil the gnocchi, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and poach the gnocchi for 1-2 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Then, drain and add to your sauce.