Sunday, April 15, 2012

We tried it: Gnocchi with mushrooms in spicy lemon butter

The original recipe on Simply Reem

I’m always a sucker for Italian – I think of it as comfort food that must be reserved for occasions when I need a warm hug on a plate. And so, one Saturday when I needed a little pampering, I decided to try making gnocchi in a butter sauce. Yes, a butter sauce. Deprivation makes the sauce tastier, and all that.
Gnocchi (pronounced ’knocki’) are little dumplings made from potato and flour, or semolina, or even atta. This handmade pasta is one of the few you don’t need a pasta machine for. 
I used the recipe from Simply Reem as my base, and tweaked as I went along. Incidentally, she has some wonderful recipes on her blog. This one serves two.

To make the gnocchi:
450 g potato
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain), or oregano
2 tsp salt, or to taste

1.   Boil the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes till tender (Reem says steaming the potatoes makes the gnocchi lighter, so, if possible, steam them). Mash the boiled or steamed potatoes while they are still hot.
2. Lightly beat the egg in a different bowl.
3.  Mix the egg, carom seeds or oregano and salt into the potatoes.
4.   Add the flour in small increments (you may need a little less or little more than one cup) and knead the mixture to a soft dough.
5.   Divide the dough into four parts and roll each into a log about ½-inch in diameter.
6.   Cut into gnocchi of 3/4-inch length and shape them by gently rolling them against the prongs of a fork.
7.   Arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and dusted with flour.
(You can freeze them at this stage: put the cookie sheet in the freezer, then, once the gnocchi get hard, empty them into a freezer bag and store.)
8.  To cook the gnocchi, boil water with salt in a large pan. Add a few gnocchi at a time; don’t over-crowd them. As they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon. Keep warm.

Mushrooms in Spicy Lemon Butter
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (I’ve also used button mushrooms)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
¼ cup finely-chopped coriander (I've also used basil, as much as was available in Kevin’s herb garden)
½ tsp red pepper flakes (I've also used ground paprika)
Salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper

1.  Heat a pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and then the butter.
2.   Once the butter melts and starts getting a little brown, add the mushrooms and sauté till they get brown and all the moisture has dried out (about three to four minutes).
3.   Add salt, black pepper, lemon zest and juice and stir well together.

To assemble the gnocchi:
Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and fry for two to three minutes till the gnocchi starts getting a little colour.
Add the chopped coriander and the red pepper flakes. Stir and serve hot.


I must confess that I quite messed up the making of the gnocchi, since I commandeered a batch of potatoes already on the boil for some curry Suchita was going to make. Therefore, I had no clue what my pre-boiling weight of potatoes was and that affected the amount of flour we had to add to make the dough. Which explains why the final dish looks quite inelegant, especially in comparison with Reem’s photograph. However, the spicy lemon butter sauce is very forgiving, and once the gnocchi were added and cooked together, they tasted really yummy.
Also, next time, I would make twice the quantity of sauce.
I also used the Mushrooms in Spicy Lemon Butter as a sauce over angelhair pasta for our Easter brunch, and it tasted really good.
Enjoy! This one is perfect for weekends.

1 comment:

  1. Lynette Menezes15 April 2012 at 18:56

    This looks good! I'm going to try it out today...


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