Posts tagged ‘nutmeg’

Homemade Gnocchi with Spinach & Roasted Garlic White Sauce Recipe

Last night we made gnocchi for the first time. It was actually relatively easy, except that something with the recipe was a little screwy. Basically, you’re supposed to mix a little flour in with the potatoes, until it gets to a dough consistency that is slightly sticky to touch, but doesn’t doesn’t stick to you. The recipe calls for two cups. I used close to eight, and it still was too sticky. We just made sure our hands were well floured before handling it. So anyhow, I’m including the original recipe in the hopes that there was something goofy with my batch. Just be sure you have plenty of flour on hand just in case. Otherwise things went well. We made ours a little too big, but it wasn’t too bad. I would say the ideal size would be oblong balls as long as a quarter and as thick as a dime.

Gnocchi can be gut busters, and this recipe (adapted from Mario Batali and the Smitten Kitchen) makes plenty. We fed 5 people with it, and had enough left over to freeze an entire gallon Ziploc bag of them.

Ingredients for gnocchi:

1.5 kg (3 lbs.) russet potatoes
2 c flour (or 8 if you’re me)
1 egg
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauce:

1 bulb of garlic (yes… bulb, not clove)
1 lb spinach
1 c of milk (or cream, if you’re feeling caloric)
4 T olive oil, butter, or a mixture of the two
4 T white flour
1+ c white wine or chicken broth (I used broth)
1/2 c grated mozzarella
1/8 c grated parmesan
Dash of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Prick the potatoes with a fork. Place them in a large pot of water, bring it to a boil, and cook for 45 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced. (It’s important to both prick the potatoes with a fork and to bring the pot of water to a boil with them already inside–rather than adding them to a pot of boiling water. If you don’t follow these two steps, the potato skins may split open causing soggy potatoes. And soggy potatoes may have been my problem). Once the potatoes are finished, remove them from the pot.

Preheat the oven to 375. Take a sharp knife, and cut the top the garlic bulb. A tiny bit of the top of each bulb should be exposed. Place the bulb in the center of a square of a aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top of the exposed cloves with salt and pepper. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb. Wrap the foil over the bulb, and twiste it at the top. Place the bulb on a baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove it when it’s done and let it cool while you make the gnocchi dough.

If you have gloves specifically made for playing Hot Potato, get them now. As I understand it, you want the dough to stay warm while you’re making it, so grab a clean towel (if you don’t have Hot Potato gloves) for handling them. Peel the potatoes, and mash them in a large bowl. (Ideally, pass them through a food mill. I didn’t have one, so I grated them. You could use a food processor, too, or mash them the old fashioned way). Form a volcano hole in the middle of the potatoes, and sprinkle 2 cups of flour over the top. Add the salt and egg to the volcano. Quickly mix them all together so that the egg mixes before it gets cooked by the potatoes. Knead for an additional 4-5 min until the mixture is dough, and slightly sticky to the touch. (This is where my attempt bordered on disastrous. It was super sticky even after an additional 6 cups of flour. Better luck to you).

Take the garlic bulb, and squeeze it from the base towards the top. The roasted cloves should pop out. Take a fork and mash these into a smooth paste. In a large skillet, melt the butter (or add the oil) and heat. Sprinkle the flour a bit at a time, whisking it into the hot oil until it dissolves. Mix in the garlic paste at this time, too. Add the milk a bit at a time, whisking vigorously to make a roux. Add wine/broth until you have a thick sauce, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Sprinkle the cheese on top and mix it into the roux. Add nutmeg, salt & pepper. Reduce heat to low, and stir sparingly. Add more liquid if it’s starts getting to thick. Remove any thick stems from the spinach and roughly chop. Add a tiny bit of water to a pot and heat. Wilt the spinach, drain it and squeeze as much liquid from it as you can. Set it aside to be added at the end.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Take a fist-sized chunk of dough and roll it out kindergarten-style into a snake about the thickness of a dime. Cut the snake into one-inch bits. Roll them briefly in your hands to round any pointy edges, then roll them long-ways along the tines of a fork to create ridges. (Traditionally gnocchi has ridges; we skipped this step). Place them on an oiled baking sheet and rub them around or spray them with oil to prevent sticking. Break off another piece of dough and repeat.

Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir once to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Cook about 2 minutes until it floats up to the surface. With a slotted spoon, scoop up the cooked gnocchi and plop them into the sauce. (Alternately, transfer them to an oiled baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’ve frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. This prevents them from freezing into a large gnocchish lump). Add the spinach to the sauce, and mix them all together.

Advertisements

March 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas with Mole Negro Recipe

I made mole last night for the first time. It took 4 hours and was fantastically spicy, smoky and sweet. I had a bunch left over, which means some killer leftovers for later on! I’d definitely recommend making a giant batch and portioning it out in the freezer. Because it takes so long to prepare, the directions below are written to minimize the time. You certainly don’t have to follow that, if you like taking your time!

Mole recipe:

5 ancho chiles
5 guajillo chiles
1/2 c almonds
2 med. onions (unpeeled)
4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
4 tomatillos (unpeeled)
1 large tomato
2 cinnamon sticks (about 3″ each) broken up in the smaller chunks.
1/2 bunch (about 2 dozen sprigs) or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 c fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 c sesame seeds
16 whole cloves
14 allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 c raisins
1 c breadcrumbs
4+ T olive oil, divided
1/2 c dark unsweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli extra-dark 70% cocoa)
1-2 c chicken or veggie broth as needed

Enchiladas recipe:

1 small pumpkin
2 cans of black beans
1 can of corn
1/2 to 1 c chopped cilantro
3/4 c goat cheese, divided
1 T fresh lime juice
2 T olive oil
10-12 large tortillas

Mole instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Wipe off the peppers, remove the tops, saving the seeds. Arrange chiles and almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven, rotating the chiles occasionally. Toast the almonds for about 10 min., chiles for about 20 min. The chiles should be starting to blacken. While those are toasting, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Blacken the pepper seeds. Be careful for the fumes when you do this. Once they are blackened, soak the seeds in hot water (changing the water occasionally). When the almonds and chiles are done, place them in a bowl to cool. (There will be a lot of “setting aside to cool” in this recipe. I just had one or two large bowls on the counter that I would throw things in while I was waiting). If you’re making enchiladas with pumpkin, increase the heat to 375. Half the pumpkin, scoop out it’s guts, put it open-side-down on the cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. It needs to cook for at least 45 minutes, so do this now while you’re working on everything else. In the heavy skillet, toast the sesame seeds, shaking frequently. Set aside to cool. Add onions, garlic, tomatillos (all still with their skin) and tomato to the skillet. Pan-grill these, moving around occasionally to cook on all sides. The garlic will be soft and starting to brown (about 10 min.) Tomatillos will start to char on the outside and become soft (about 15 min.) The tomato will become soft with charred skin (15-20 min.) The onions’ skin will start to char (20-25 min.) When each is done, set aside to cool. While the veggies are cooking, prep the spices, chopping the thyme and oregano if fresh, and grating the nutmeg and ginger. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside. When all the veggies have finished cooking, heat a liberal amount of olive oil in the skillet until shimmering. Fry all of the herbs and spices, stirring often, until heavily aromatic (2-4 min.) (Warning: Something reacted pretty strongly when I added it to the hot oil. I think it may have been the nutmeg, but I’m not sure. Regardless, something started popping and exploding, like bacon but way more intense. Be careful when you add the spices). Set aside to cool. Finally, heat a couple more tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and raisins, stirring often. The breadcrumbs should turn golden-brown, and the raisins will plump up a bit. Remove from heat and cool.

Whew! Good job. You’re almost there. All of the ingredients for the mole are now cooked! At this point, check on the pumpkin to see if it’s tender when pierced with a fork. Remove it from the oven and set it open-side-up to cool. Now it’s time to make the mole into a sauce. If you have a gigundous food processor, you could just throw it all in and blend. Mine is small, so I did it in batches. Either way, start with the chiles, and save the tomato and tomatillos for last. Grinding them into a powder. (You may want to cover your nose and mouth for this. Breathing chile = lots of coughing). Start adding the drier ingredients (almonds, sesame seeds, spices, pepper seeds, garlic and onions). If the mixture starts getting too pasty, throw in one of the tomatillos or a chunk of tomato to give it enough liquid to move around a bit. You want the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer batches to a 3-quart pot. Save the breadcrumbs, raisins and tomato (or what’s left of it) for last. (The smoother you can get the overall mix, the better. If you have a hand blender, you can use that if you want to once it’s all in the pot). Heat the entire mixture, and add the chocolate. Simmer for at least 3o minutes (but the longer the better), stirring occassionally. Add stock as needed if it starts getting too thick.

Enchiladas instructions:

Remove the skin of the pumpkin and chop the meat into 1/2″ cubes. Drain and rinse the black beans and corn. Chop the cilantro and crumble 1/2 c of goat cheese. Toss all together in a large bowl with lime juice and olive oil.

Line the bottom of a baking pan with a thin layer of mole sauce to keep the enchiladas from sticking. Fill tortillas with squash, black bean mixture, roll, and line them up in the pan. Spoon a liberal amount of mole oever the top off the enchiladas to cover. Crumble the remaining 1/4 c goat cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

November 6, 2010 at 11:09 am Leave a comment


Categories

Recent Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers