Monday, February 15, 2010

Taste: Potato and Parmesan Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas

So I've always been a little intimidated when it comes to making homemade pastas and dough. I'd like to blame it on the fact that I never had a food processor, but then again, that's a really poor excuse because not all pastas and doughs require it! Through bargain hunting and a handy gift card, I was able to get a great Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor for about 70% off the retail price. Eager to try it out, I decided to take the leap and try to make homemade gnocchi. With the food processor, it was rather simple. Kneading the dough was fun and it's somewhat empowering, if that makes any sense. The great thing about gnocchi is that you can also freeze whatever you don't use for a later date which is great.

This meal is a really simple one and easy to make. You can certainly use the pre-made gnocchi from your local market if you don't want to invest the time; the meal will come out just as good (in half the time). Though I used bacon, you can take it to a healthier level by using turkey bacon, or even omitting the meat in all. Just be sure you add a few of your favorites spices to keep it delectable. Nonetheless, your first bite will result in a raging party in your mouth and you'll have a great gnocchi dish to make anytime for anyone - quickly.

Potato and Parmesan Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas

Prep Time: 80 Mins.
Cook Time: 15 mins.
Serves: 2

2 lbs. russet potatoes
2 cups flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
4 strips of thick cut bacon
1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Baked the potatoes for approximately 40 minutes under fork tender. Take out and let cool to where you can handle them. Once cooled, peel the potatoes and then grate the potatoes or put them through a ricer. In a food processor, add the grated potatoes and 1 egg, slightly beaten. Begin adding the flour to the mixture, pulsing to incorporate thoroughly. Continue adding the flour a little at a time until the dough can be easily handled without it sticking to your hands. Roll the dough into a ball and get your working surface ready for kneading by flouring it generously. Cut the dough into 6 little pieces and form them into balls. Next, start rolling one of the dough balls into a rope, about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1 in pieces and then roll the cut end over with your finger, pressing down to seal the end. You'll then want to take a tines of the fork to put indentations in the gnocchi. Repeat until you make all the gnocchi.

If using store bought Gnocchi, start here!

Start to bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, add the gnocchi. You will know when the gnocchi is done because they will float to the top (this applies to store bought gnocchi.) In the meantime, heat a skillet on medium-high. Cut the bacon into small strips and start browning the bacon. Set aside on a plate, leaving the bacon fat. Using the same pan, saute the mushrooms and adding the bacon back once the mushrooms have cooked. By this point the gnocchi should be done, so simply drain and add the gnocchi right into the bacon and mushrooms, even adding some of the water used to boil the gnocchi. Doing this will help create a thick, tasty sauce. Once the gnocchi has slightly browned, add the peas at the end, give it a quick toss and serve immediately. I took some of the leftover Parmesan and gave it a few shavings on top because freshly grated cheese always makes everything taste better.

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