The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Gnocchi with Basil Pesto and 
African Devil Peppers
There is nothing quite like fresh basil
The aroma fills the house with the essence of spring
This post was meant to be part of our pesto fest weekend
But better late than never
The basil is a garden fresh organic basil
The leaves were just stuningly vibrent
Here I have decided to do a traditional pesto, with a kick
I have added African Devil peppers
They are quite hot so add to taste

Basil Pesto
What you will need:
2-3 large bunches of basil (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more on hand
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2/3 cup pecorino romano, freshly grated 
1-3 African Devil peppers, chopped (we used 3)
(reconstitute in hot water until soft)
Black pepper, freshly ground
Himalayan pink salt, finely ground

Lets get mixing:
Combine first 4 ingredients in blender or food processor
Blend until paste forms, stopping to push down the basil as needed
 Add cheese, lemon juice, african devils, salt and pepper to taste
Continue to blend until smooth, adding more oil if needed
Transfer to bowl and cover in refrigerator while preparing gnocchi
 (Can be made the day before and stored refrigerated and surface covered with oil)

What you will need:
4 large russet potatoes
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
(Plus more for shaping)
1 extra large egg
1 pinch of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup oil, if making gnocchi ahead
And if you can manage it, a clean up crew on standby 
Let’s get cooking:
Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft, about 45 minutes
While still warm, peel potatoes let sit to room temperature
Once cooled, grate potatoes into a bowl
Flour a large cutting board and transfer the grated potatoes
Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with the 2 1/4cups flour
Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, mix into flour and potatoes
 Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed
You can do this by hand or, with a metal spatula or large pastry scraper
And continue to fold dough over until firm
Adding a bit more flour as needed

Once you have achieved a firm consistency
Take your metal spatula or scraper, divide dough into sections
Roll sections of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into ¾ inch pieces
Note: you can do this one section at a time

In a large pot, bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil
Taking a large bowl, set up an ice bath
 Drop the gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they float 
Once they are floating, allow to remain in the water for a moment or two
Transfer to ice bath, they will sink to the bottom when cooled
Toss gnocchi with olive oil and store covered in refrigerator
Store for up to two days or until ready to use

A crisp light Pinot Grigio with a lovely citrus finish
A nice Cinque Terre with a bit of an apple undertone
Or for you red wine lovers, a Merlot with deep plum, blackbery and clove undertones

Add To Facebook Share with Twitter Stumble This Digg This Add To Add To Reddit Post to Google Buzz Share on Myspace Share with Windows Live Pin It

blog comments powered by Disqus