Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gnocchi in Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi Party)


Twitter is a place where I can find and chat with like-minded people, as well as get myself motivated in both cooking and blogging. Over the twitter chats with @jeroxie and @DivinaPe, an idea of throwing a gnocchi party online was evolved. Thanks for Penny for organizing the gnocchi party, and welcome other foodies to join in (see the link list below). I’m pretty sure that we can share and learn with each other by participating this gnocchi party.

At first, I was a bit hesitated to cook gnocchi, not only because have I ever cooked gnocchi before, although I really enjoy it at some restaurants, but also have I heard that gnocchi recipes aren't for the faint of heart. After a few exchanges with Penny and Divina, I was really glad to take up the challenge and join this gnocchi party with excitement.

After making up my mind to join, suddenly I recalled a cookbook written by Jamie Oliver, entitled “Cook with Jamie”, that was one of my Mother’s Day presents from my kids. With a surprise, there is a section about cooking gnocchi which I haven’t touched at all. How wonderful I felt when I found Jamie’s gnocchi recipe. That looks very delicious and easy to make. 

But still, I was a bit worried how to go about making some nice and beautiful gnocchi because I don’t have a ricer or any proper equipments to help make potato dough. Many thanks to Divina for telling me that a strainer would work for mashing potatoes. For traditional gnocchi, it’s got some nice and nifty patterns on it. How could I make perfect potato dough and patterns with my bare hands? Then I found Heidi Swanson explained every detail on “How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother Recipe” with gorgeous pictures on her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s post helped me out from anxiety and cleared all my uncertainties. Then off I went to make my first gnocchi with a fork.

Combining with bits and pieces of information at my fingertips, I started to cook my first gnocchi ever. It turned out wonderful. The gnocchi was deliciously light, not too dry nor too soggy, absorbed all the tasty flavours of the creamy mushroom sauce. It’s a big hit in my family.
Gnocchi in Creamy Mushroom Sauce01
This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver's Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage, from “Cook with Jamie”, p.114. I've tweaked Jamie’s version with a little more creamy mushroom sauce, because I think it’d be more friendly to my readers, easier to find all the ingredients.

Gnocchi Recipe in “Cook with Jamie”

Ingredients of potato gnocchi:
  • 650 gm starchy potatoes (russets), medium size
  • 3/4 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Ingredients of sauce:
  • 200 gm Swiss mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 250 ml vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 15 gm butter
  • 2 Tbsp thickened cream
  • fresh continental parsley leaves for garnish, roughly chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
  • Olive oil
  • semolina flour
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • freshly grated black pepper, to taste

Making Gnocchi01
(Side note: To take the picture 4, I used my left hand to hold the strainer and tablespoon, my right hand to press the shutter. It's a new challenge to me!)

 Making Gnocchi02

Method of making potato gnocchi:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (392F).
  2. Prick potatoes with a fork, brush potatoes with olive oil evenly. Lay in a roasting tray. Bake for an hour until the potatoes are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside (picture 1).
  3. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, until they are still nice and hot, use a tea towel to pick up potatoes one at a time, peel off skins. Cut roughly and place all potatoes into a strainer (the holes are not too large or too small that could let mashed potatoes go through). Mash the potato with a tablespoon (picture 2) and push through the strainer (picture 3). Scrape mashed potatoes from strainer underneath (picture 4) and place on a clean surface. After finishing this step, the potato should be still hot, or warm at least.
  4. Add the egg yolk, sprinkle salt and pepper (picture 5). Mix in plain flour in batches. Combine the mixture and knead with clean hands until you have a dry, doughy consistency (picture 6). You might not need all the flour though. (Note: Jamie said, you need 1-2 handfuls of plain flour. I estimated that I used 3/4 cup.) Add a little water if you feel it’s too dry, or a little more flour if it’s too wet. To test whether the dough is ready, chuck a small piece and place in boiling water. If it falls apart, add a bit more flour to the dough.
  5. Once you have your gnocchi dough ready, divide it into 3 pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface into long tubes, with the thickness similar to your finger. Cut each of the tubes into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Place each small potato tube onto the tines of a fork with an angle, about 45degree, use your thumb to press in the middle of the soft dough, slightly roll your thumb forward, then you have nice patterns on top with a C shape at the back (picture 7).
  6. Place them on a bed of semolina flour on a tray and put in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes to set (picture 8).
 Gnocchi in Creamy Mushroom Sauce03

Method of cooking gnocchi with mushroom sauce:
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped chilli, garlic, salt and pepper and butter.
  2. When the garlic is slightly golden, add stock and cook on medium heat, until liquid reduces by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream.
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Once the gnocchi is cooked, spoon them out with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Handle with care because you don’t want to break the delicate gnocchi into pieces or turn them back to mashed potato.
  4. Add them into the mushroom mixture, just incorporated all ingredients. Carefully transfer to a plate. Sprinkle chopped parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
 Gnocchi in Creamy Mushroom Sauce02

Do head over and check out other gnocchi crews’ recipes with a variety styles and different flavours because they are fantastic food bloggers. The theme of our gnocchi party is “umami”, which is a flavour enhancer. We use natural and wholesome umami, like broth, stock, cheese, proteins to enhance the dish.

29 comments :

  1. I love the wording 'gnocchi party'!

    Your dish looks so much better than Jamie's! The gnocchi look perfect, have too been wary of making but am very tempted now for the fact I adore mushrooms, though not familiar with 'swiss mushrooms'?

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  2. They look fantastic. Thanks for sharing how you made it. This is absolutely filled with umami flavor and I just love the cream to go with it too. Great job on that. I'm sure you will be making more gnocchi recipes. I should try this one soon.

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  3. The mushrooms are a great idea for the umami gnocchi party, great job!

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  4. Well done! Your first gnocchi and it is lovely. Happy gnocchi day and thanks for coming to the party! And I am glad that it is a hit with your family too.

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  5. Christine - congratulations on your first attempt at gnocchi - it looks so good as if you've been doing this for years! I love the mushrooms you've added - a great vegetarian dish!

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  6. Fabulous gnocchi, it really does look like you cooked it like an Italian grandmother :)

    Great flavours too!

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  7. I love your pairing the creamy mushroom sauce to go with the gnocchi! Very delicious and great umami flavors!

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  8. These are beautiful Christine. I love the earthiness of the mushrooms and the creamy sauce. Wonderful!

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  9. Sure, have Chinese better! Thanks!! and Please!!

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  10. Your first time too?! Cool! So there are many of us. Very neat and delicious.

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  11. Yummo! Mushrooms would have to be one of my favourite umami-enhancers, and your dish looks fantastic!

    So nice to meet you!

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  12. That looks beautiful! I'm keen to give this recipe a crack in the cooler Winter months. Thanks for posting it up :)

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  13. I love potato gnocchi and mushrooms so this looks wonderful! Your gnocchi look great - I'd like to try making this myself!

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  14. Mmm....delicious! That looks like lots of fun to make the gnocchi.

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  15. Super stunning photos and I know I would love it because I love Jamie's flavours....another reason too to love the kids eh?

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  16. Looks so good! I like how shaped and patterned them. I've always wanted to try making gnocchi.

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  17. I love gnocchi! This recipe looks so good!

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  18. I think I want gnocchi for breakfast after reading this!

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  19. Ahh, great job! Thanks also for the link on how to shape gnocchi - I really struggled with mine! Your looks fantastic.

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  20. I'm really impressed with the amount of efforts you put to make this gourgeous gnocchi dish. They sure taste excellent! Well done, Christine! ;)

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  21. congrats on your first attempt they look amazing!!

    sweetlife

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  22. Online gnocchi party!? Your dish does not look like it is your first try. ;p

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  23. it sounds like a fun cooking gathering! those potato gnocchi are so adorable, makes me hungry looking at the photos :)

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  24. Looks beautiful. I like the picture that you shot on the cookbook too, that's nice.

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  25. Beautiful and delicious. I seem to be attracted to mushrooms this week.

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  26. I HEART gnocchi! This dish looks scrumptious.

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  27. today was the first time i cooked gnocchi as well and it turned out to be great,, i did it with pesto sauce , but tomorrow I'm gonna try your sauce[i did 1kg of potatoes for 2persons so have leftovers]... thanks Christine for your lovely recipes,,

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  28. tried the sauce today,, was great except that i didn't like the garlic,, not a garlic fan myself so I'm not a very good judge but my husband loved it,,, ill be trying your other recipes in the next couple of days,, i like your website,, i am vegetarian so ill be screening it for suitable recipes

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