Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nesting and Gnocchi

Rach, it was a good week. Thanks for getting off the island and spending time with me and Finn. The pre-baby wait isn't for the adrenaline junky, but it was great having company in my "nesting." I added the above pic to give you accolades for my newly-organized pantry. When
I open the door to find something it takes mere seconds- beautiful rows of baking supplies and cooking goods wait for me expectantly- no longer jumbled together in one big pile (how many half empty bags of oats did you find.. 5?). I record in writing, my solemn vow to fight my "Hale-tropy" slide toward disaster and to do all in my power to maintain this organized state. I am picturing your skeptical face right now; fine, new plan, how about you come out every few months to do a visual?? Or I could post a pic every two months or so?

I needed to document our fabulous gnocchi meal. Judging by the amount he pounded back Finn's weight is now secured at the top percentile of the two-year-old growth chart. This was a great meal that did well on our eating local aspirations - basil pesto made with my bumper crop, beans also from my garden, and potato gnocchi made with yukon gold potatoes from our Dutch egg lady down the road.

Gnocchi with Pesto
(from The Williams Sonoma Cookbook)
-makes 4 servings

3 russet potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb russet potatoes, scrubbed (we used 6 yukon golds)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (we used dried)
1 large egg, beaten (props to us for one more local item -eggs from Fairfield Island)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed for rolling
6oz haricots verts or other slender green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup pesto (see recipe below)
6 tbs unsalted butter (I used 1 1/2 tbs)

To make gnocchi, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the unpeeled whole potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. OR follow our lead and bake the potatoes (after all, your oven is on for the muffins and date squares). Drain and let cool. Peel and place in a large bowl. Add the 2 tbs grated cheese, 1 1/4 tsp salt and nutmeg and mash well with a potato masher. Let cool to lukewarm, mix in the egg and 1 cup of the flour.

Knead the dough, adding more flour 1 tbs at a time as needed, until a soft and sticky dough forms, about 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then divide into 6 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, use your palms to roll each piece into a rope 3/4 inch thick. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces. To form the grooves that will hold the sauce, roll each piece over the tines of a large fork.

In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the beans until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer beans to a colander and drain.

In 2 batches, cook the gnocchi in the same pot of boiling water until just tender, stirring often to prevent sticking, about 5 minutes per batch. Use the skimmer to transfer to a baking sheet.

Put the pesto and 1/2 cup grated cheese into a large bowl. In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the gnocchi and saute until heated through, 5 minutes. Add beans and toss for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to the bowl of pesto and cheese and toss to coat. Divide among 4 plates, serve at once.

Pesto - Note we used a combo of pine nuts and walnuts. Other note - yay, the "deflowering" of my new food processor!!

In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 large clove of garlic, halved, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Process until garlic is minced. Add 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts and process until the basil is finely ground. With, the motor running, gradually add 1/2 cup (I used 1/4 cup) olive oil and blend until almost smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. To store for up to a week, spoon additional oil over the pesto to cover. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Before I sign off, another huge thanks for the baking in my freezer- I've got enough muffins, bread, granola, and squares to last me for a bit. Could you please post me a recipe for the apple-cinnamon-raisin bread? We finished the last of the first loaf on french toast this morning.

Here's to hoping that babe makes an appearance soon (well, after I've reorganized my closet!).


  1. Okay, we need to make that. Sounds so good. Wish I had a sister who was so awesome in the kitchen (oh boy, hope none of them read this comment!), but at least Gary loves it. Can't wait to hear the news of baby Campbell, hope these last few days go well!

  2. Hale-tropy. I like it.

    What's with the recipe binder? You keep your that organised? I had you pegged for the shoebox sort... but maybe food is a most serious thing deserving of your most organised efforts. Or maybe it's Rachel's.
    Would love to help you kill some time- call me! I'll lock the kids in the basement (aka DVD time) so we can actually talk.

  3. Heath - I have a dream of a recipe binder.. but alas you called me out - I have a basket stuffed full of various recipes, old phone bills, expired coupons that I rip out knowing I will never use.. the binder is my Better Homes cookbook!