The other day my husband’s friend Brandon knocked on the door. “Come on in!” I told him. “Don’t mind me, I’m just making some gnocchis.”
He looked at me like I was crazy.
“Your making who?”
“I’m making gnocchis. Homemade. You know, the pasta?”
“Oh for God sake.”
Sometimes you are harshly reminded that not everyone is Italian. But, you ask, why wouldn’t they be?? Don’t they know what they are missing, for cryin’ out loud?! Luckily, however, you do not have to be Italian to make fresh homemade pasta. In this case, we are making the king of all pasta: homemade gnocchi in a butter- thyme sauce. It’s fairly simple, and involves less ingredients than you think. Watch and learn, fellow PunkWives, watch and learn.
- 2 lbs (about 4 medium size) potatoes
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
for the butter-thyme sauce:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
(click the arrow for how-to and more pics)
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork in several places to allow them to bake properly. Once oven is ready, bake potatoes for 50 minutes.
Step 2 – Allow potatoes to cool just enough to be handled, then cut them in half, scoop out the insides, and pass them through a potato ricer. Place in a large bowl and add the salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the egg, and begin to add the flour little by little, until you have a rough dough.
Step 3 – Transfer dough to a clean and lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough for about 3 – 4 minutes, adding flour as necessary to create a consistency that is soft but does not stick to the surface. Consistency is key.
Step 4 – Place a large pot of salted water over medium heat. While your water is boiling, divide the dough into 4 balls:
Then roll each ball using your palms into a long rope, about 1/2 inch in diameter:
Step 5 – Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 inch pieces:
Step 6 – The step I missed! You are now supposed to roll each gnocchi over a wooden paddle with ridges, or the tines of a fork, to create grooves in the dough. The reason for this is so that the sauce grabs onto the pasta. The proper tool is called a pettine. I don’t own one (yet,) but here is a picture of the one I desperately want and can’t seem to find online:
Anyone know where I can find one?? If you don’t have one either, don’t worry – just move on to step 7.
Step 7 – Now it’s time to prepare your thyme-butter sauce. (Tip: to easily remove the leaves from the sprigs, hold the end of the sprig in one hand and pull the leaves backwards in a sliding motion.)
Cook the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add your thyme leaves, stir, and set aside. Make sure you take a minute to breathe in the deliciously intoxicating scent of the browning butter on the stove top. Makes you sort of just want to dab a few drops behind your ears, doesn’t it? No? Ahem. Me neither. But I seriously think someone should formulate perfumes like this. “Butter, by Calvin Klein.” All I’m sayin is, you heard it here first.
Step 8 – Cook the gnocchi in the large pot of boiling water, stirring continuously, until they begin to rise to the surface. These babies cook FAST (only about 2 minutes!) so don’t go getting involved in anything after you drop them into the water. And quit dabbing the butter behind your ears, ya freak. Sheesh.
Step 9: Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchis from the water and move to the pan with your hot butter thyme sauce, and toss to coat well. Sprinkle lightly with Pecorino Romano cheese.
Step 10: Serve them up in a bowl, and devour the crap out of them. There’s no graceful way to do it so don’t bother. Eat with abandon!!!