Gustosa pasta tradizionale..potato dumplings!

Tuesday 26 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Italian Cooking

dumplingsThere is a lot of basil growing outside in a big pot and also paint work going on in the house. So I decided I will cook Italian for dinner before the painters make my basil plant there graffiti wall. Made pasta sauce from scratch and then made some potato dumplings also referred as gnocchi.

Gnocchi: pronounced as “neeeyoki”. My first date with gnocchi was in Italy itself. Before I went to school in New York, I had backpacked Italy and France and because I am vegetarian you wont believe the first few days in Paris I ate Chiniese.Dont laugh please…I know its crazy, but they have a huge Chinese community there and food was really good, Indians and Chinese are so abundant, you will find them in Timbak Too also! HAHAH! Bummer now I am cracking up myself.
“Bonjour- can I have some noodles with soy garlic soy sauce and shitake mushrooms please?”

So where were we- Gnocchi?
Call it a thick fat noodle or a dumpling to be more precise and is traditional Italian pasta. The word itself means a lump. They are traditionally made with semolina flour, eggs. Potato Gnocchi is relatively new. The recipe I am sharing with you-I use fresh potatoes, but some people also use potato flour. I think every country rich on culture and food has developed its own explicit type of diminutive dumplings, with the primordial Gnocchi as their familiar predecessor.

Standard accompaniments of gnocchi include tomato sauces, pesto, and melted butter (sometimes fried butter) with nuts, cheese(parmesan being the popular one). I made mine with green pesto sauce, fresh basil and grana prdano cheese. Alternately another simple yet tasty way is that you can serve them with a few leaves of sage, melted unsalted butter and Parmigiano.

Ecco la ricotta (here is the recipe)…

POTATO DUMPLINGS/gnocchi

Potatoes 1/2 kg
AP flour or Maida 1/2 Cup or more
Eggs, (optional) 1 ea.
Salt (for seasoning the dumplings) 1 Tsp.
White pepper pinch

Salt (for cooking the dumplings) 2 Tsp.
Boiling water 1 litre
Pure olive oil, not extra-virgin 2 Tbsp.

Method for the Potato Dumplings

1. Bake the potatoes in a 400°F oven until they are quite tender in the middle. Determine this by inserting a small knife/skewer into the centre.
2. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. While they are still warm, peel the skin away.
3. Rice the potatoes through the food mill alternatively you can grate the potatoes. Place in a mixing bowl and allow cooling for 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. Add the flour, (eggs if using), the first salt, white pepper and mix well with your hands to form a smooth dough. If the dough is sticky, add up to 1 Tbsp more flour.
5. Roll the dough into about ¾ inch thickness on a lightly floured cutting board. If the mixture falls apart while you are rolling it, it means that it needs more flour.
6. Cut the dough every ¾ inch with a paring knife. Press the dumplings in-between the tines of large dinner fork to make ridges into them.
7. Bring a litre of salted water to a boil with the second salt. Cook 1/3 of the dumplings at a time and remove them after they float. This will take 2 – 3 minutes. Be sure the dumplings are cooked in the middle. Repeat this for the rest of the dumplings. Rinse in cold water; toss with olive oil; chill.

Anyone of you planning to go to Italy this summer?Anyhow try the tasty traditional pasta and think Italy!!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
------------------------------------------------------------------

Mothering Sunday

Monday 11 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Italian Cooking,Mother's Day

mothers-dayMother’s day was swamped with cake orders. Stayed up till wee hours organizing all the deliveries and making sure we were sending the right cakes to right mothers.
My big hit for the day was chocolate Torta. Everyone just loved it.
With all this I still managed to go to a party on Saturday night too and lost my earring while dancing -the highlight! Okay enough of junky updates…let’s get to the food bit.

I cooked quick/simple basic pasta salad on the eve of Mother’s day and rest of the meal mom made her self (basic daal roti sabji meal).
Think I will cook her a grand meal one of these days.

Farfalle with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients/Amounts

Farfalle 500gms
Spring onions 2 ea.
Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves 200gms
Oregano chopped 1 tablespoon
Fresh basil chopped 1 tablespoon
Fresh mozzarella 100 Gms
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Lemon juice, fresh 1 teaspoon
Fresh chopped chilli 1 teaspoon
Garlic, crushed 1 clove
Fresh basil to roll mozzarella

Method:

1. Boil the pasta in a large saucepan of quickly boiling salted water until al dente.
2. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Allow to cool and transfer to a large salad bowl.
3. Spruce the spring onions and finely chop. Add to the pasta with the tomato halves, fresh mozzarella, oregano and basil.
4. To put together the dressing, mix the oil, chilli, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste in a bowl.
5. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad. Toss well.
6. For a pretty arrangement add the salad in a small glass. Wrap the mozzarella with a big basil leaf and sandwich it between cherry tomatoes halves on a satay stick.

Had our usual mother daughter natter, made decorations for my cakes for the next day in my kitchen and had our pasta with the satay stick! Mom happy me happy!

Belated Happy Mother’s Day!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
------------------------------------------------------------------

Herb Oil

Tuesday 5 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Dressings,Herbs

Herb OilHerb oil is uncomplicated to put together, appealing to look at, endlessly useful in food preparation and make delightful gifts for adventurous friends who love to cook.

Ingredient/Amount
Oregano, thyme, basil leaves, fresh ¼ cup.
Garlic clove 2 ea.
Olive oil 1 cup
Canola oil 1 cup

Method
1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Heat to 200°F. Maintain at that temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Put in a bottle and store.

P.S. – You can also add pink peppercorns, fresh chillies or allspice berries and store in a transparent bottle!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
------------------------------------------------------------------