Potato Gnocchi

January 22, 2009

rrtomatoesmarketcu
Potato dough is surprisingly easy to stir together … and gnocchi are the perfect cold weather comfort food. Serve these with everything from marinara sauce to pesto to fine olive oil and feta.

1 pound new potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (2 ounces/50 grams)
1 tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato-basil sauce
grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

In a saucepan or stockpot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel the potatoes and put through a ricer on the smallest disk. Add the egg, flour, cornmeal, and oil and stir with a pastry fork until mixture forms a ball. Turn onto a floured surface and with a bench knife cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into a snake 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into half-inch disks. In a large stockpot or chef’s pan, bring to a boil 3 quarts of salted water. One by one, drop the gnocchi into the water. When all rise to the top, skim them off and place in a warm bowl. Toss immediately with tomato sauce and serve sprinkled with Parmesan and parsley.
Makes 2 to 3 servings.

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Lentil Epiphany Soup

January 6, 2009

rrscalespotato
A creamy and comforting celebration in a bowl … Try to find Puy lentils or at least use small, gray or green French lentils. They are much superior to the larger, softer gray variety. Don’t use red lentils. They’re more Biblical—Esau sold his birthright for porridge made of red lentils—but red lentils dissolve entirely and lack the comforting heft of green lentils.

1 cup dried Puy lentils
3 cups cold water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds onions (2 large), thinly sliced and divided
3/4 pound new potatoes (3 medium)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, divided
1 bay leaf tied with 4 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup instant polenta
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Pick through the lentils, rinse them, and place in a stockpot with 3 cups cold water and 1 slice onion. The onion helps the lentils hold their shape. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic.

Meanwhile, in a large chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the remaining onions in 1 tablespoon oil, covered, until translucent, not brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucier, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Peel the potatoes if you like, but it’s not necessary.

In the chef’s pan over medium heat, combine the lentil mixture, onions, potatoes, 1 cup stock, 1 tablespoon oil, bay leaf, thyme, and sherry and bring to a simmer, uncovered.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the polenta. Return to very low heat and cook until creamy, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir into the soup

Simmer the soup, uncovered, until creamy and reduced by 1 cup, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. It tends to stick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Serve with Greek yogurt, crème fraîche, or cream.
Makes about 2 quarts.


Potato Cabbage Gratin

January 2, 2009

rrcabbagehalf
Here’s a great way to warm your family on a cold winter’s night … It’s also easy to make. You can steam the cabbage while you simmer the potatoes. Buy a firm, fresh head and sprinkle it with lemon juice before you steam it to avoid the cabbage smell.

1 pound waxy potatoes (4 medium)
1 1/2 pounds cabbage (1 1/2 head)
juice of 1 lemon
1 pound onions (2 medium large)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces log chèvre
4 ounces water
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
grated whole nutmeg to taste
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In the bottom of a 3- or 4-quart steamer pan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Slice the cabbage into 2-inch wedges, place in the steamer basket and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes for the cabbage, 20 to 25 minutes for the potatoes. Drain, cool, and roughly chop each and set aside.

Slice the onions, thinly. In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart gratin and set aside.

In a small saucier over extremely low heat, combine the chèvre, water, and bay leaf. Stir with a whisk until melted.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Fold in the chèvre mixture and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Turn into the prepared gratin and top with the remaining breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.