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Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

When I turned 30 (and I'm not going to tell you how long ago — or not long ago — that was!), I made a list of "30 Things to Cook or Bake When I'm 30." I don't know what happened to that list, all I do know is that I didn't complete it. So, I'm revising it, and renaming it, "30 Things to Make in my '30s," and hoping that I'll actually finish it this time. 

One of the items on my revised list is gnocchi. Potatoes, flour, an egg . . . I thought, "how hard can it be?" 

Now I regret ever thinking that. Gnocchi is labor intensive. Muscle-killing work? No. But they do take awhile, and I'm not used to being on my feet for so long. And the resulting dish was only okay. The gnocchi themselves were light and melted in your mouth; the portobello mushroom sauce was disappointing. A blog fan recommended vodka sauce, or olive oil and garlic next time (and with 2 ½ pounds of dough left over, there will be a next time). 

Gnocchi (sauce recipe below)
Mario Batali's recipe published on FoodNetwork.com
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes. 
  2. While still warm, peel the potatoes, and pass through a food mill or potato ricer*. Make a well in the center of the mound, sprinkle all over with the 2 cups of flour, then add the egg and the salt to the well. Stir the egg into the flour (see this video). Once the egg is mixed in, gather the dough into a large ball and knead gently (as you would bread) just until the dough is dry to the touch. 
  3. Divide the dough into baseball-sized mounds. Roll one mound into a ¾-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Gently press the tines of a fork onto one side of each piece (so the sauce will cling to the finished gnocchi). Repeat with remaining dough. 
  4. Bring a 6-quart pot of water to a boil. If not serving gnocchi immediately, prepare an ice bath of 6 cups water and 6 cups of ice. Drop gnocchi in batches into the boiling water, let boil for one minute (or until they float), then remove with a slotted spoon. If not serving immediately, drop cooked gnocchi into the ice bath to cool. Toss cooled gnocchi with ½-cup canola oil and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. 

* - if you don't have a food mill or potato ricer, grate the potatoes, then mash very well to remove all lumps. 

Portobello Mushroom Sauce
Based on recipe by CDKitchen.com
Yield: enough to sauce four portions of gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 splashes balsamic vingegar
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth, divided
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms are tender, then add the thyme, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire, and cook for another minute. Add all but 2 tbsp of the broth. Puree mixture with an immersion blender**. 
  2. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp of broth with the flour, and mix into a thick paste. Add to the mushroom mixture, and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes. Add heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
** - if you don't have an immersion blender, cool the sauce, then puree in a blender or food processor. 

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