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!!

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Easy meals…sandwich!

Thursday 21 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Easy Cooking,Sandwich

roasted veggies with bread
Sandwiches are a commonly fashionable sort of food. We take them to work, kids love it at school, picnics…Here is my take on an easy meal!

ROASTED VEGETABLES FOR SANDWICH

Ingredient /Amount
Peppers 2 each
Tomatoes 2 each
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Zucchini 2 each
Eggplant 1 each
Mushrooms 10 each
Balsamic Marinade 1 recipe
Salt t.t
Pepper t.t
Olive Oil As Needed

METHOD

Peppers: Wash and roast peppers on an open flame, then place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to sit for 30 minutes. Remove skins and seeds, and then cut into julienne strips.

Tomatoes: Wash and cut off the stem end, then cut tomatoes into quarters. Lie on butter paper-lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until slightly browned and shrivelled.

Garlic: Peel garlic cloves and place in a pan. Cover with oil and cover pan with foil. Place in the oven and roast until aromatic and brown. Reserve the oil for other applications-use it for pasta’s preferably!

Zucchini: Cut off the ends, and cut in half length wise. Lie on butter paper-lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown and soft. When cool, cut them into julienne strips on a bias.

Eggplant: Wash eggplant, peel skin off, and cut off ends. Cut into ¼”-thick disks and place in a strainer (sieve aka colander). Create layers of eggplant and salt each layer very well. Place colander in a bowl and allow to sit for 2 hours, or until eggplant is softened. Rinse eggplant and toss with olive oil and grill (or sauté). When cool, cut into julienne strips.

Button Mushrooms: Remove stems from mushrooms, trying to keep the cap intact and whole, then place into the Balsamic marinade. Moisten all of the caps and line up in pans. Allow mushrooms to sit overnight or at least for a few hours. When ready, grill the mushrooms until the centres are softened.

So for the sandwich:

Roasted Vegetables 1 recipe
Bread 1 loaf pick from any bakery around your house, baguette or cracked wheat…not much choice in Delhi to be true!
Jack Cheese/cheddar cheese or fresh mozzarella 10-12 slices. Or crumble with hands for the latter
Balsamic Vinaigrette 1 recipe (look in the recipe section of the blog)
Lettuce, half leaves 1 head

METHOD
1. To assemble the sandwich, place the lettuce on the bottom piece of bread, toss all vegetables except the mushrooms in enough balsamic vinaigrette to moisten them, and then place them on top of the lettuce. Top the vegetables with mushrooms and the cheese…I really like fresh mozzarella, which I melt in the microwave for just 10 second before adding. So it’s nice soft and gooey. Place top on and cut in half on a bias.

When you try -play around with different dressings, I personally love honey mustard 🙂

My advice: Do it a day before and make your life trouble-free! Sometimes spare some vegetable and store them in zip locks and make salads with the same!

Question:
The roasting of all of these vegetables should be done the day before?? WHY??
Answer:
You try it and let me know… 😉

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