Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Menu Tuesday, Homemade Gnocchi and Where I've Been

My sincere apologies that I've been MIA around here for another week.  I took an unexpected break to spend time with family in Peoria for Easter and boy did I need it!  As much as I love this blog and all of you, it felt great to spend a few days not constantly thinking about what I will blog about next or scrambling to get my camera so that I can document everything for the blog.  I guess I'm finding that balance I talked about with my New Years resolutions back in January.  I am now rested, refreshed and ready to jump back into blogging!

I normally share our weekly menu on Mondays but I ran out of time yesterday between work and errands that couldn't wait after the long weekend.  I am sharing it today because I am really excited about our menu this week, especially because it uses some of the turkey and hot ham leftovers from Easter dinner on Sunday and includes some recipes from our new cookbook which was our gift from the Easter Bunny.

Monday: Homemade Turkey Pot Pies, similar to this recipe but this time we used leftover creamed potatoes and a splash of fat free milk instead of cream!

Tuesday: Croque Monsiuer Mac and Cheese--photos and recipe to follow!

Wednesday: Ham and Bean soup--photos and recipe to follow!

Thursday: Tangerine Beef with Scallions and Veggie Stirfy--photos and recipe to follow!

Now as promised, a recipe for homemade gnocchi I made last week.  Inspired by this lovely lady, I decided to try my hand at it and in the process, crossed off another item on my 130 Before I'm Thirty list.

18.  Make homemade gnocci

Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce, taken from Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 (1 pound) russet potato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano--I used grated cheese

Kitchen Supplies:
Heavy medium skillet
Large bowl
Medium stockpot

Cook the butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the thyme leaves and set aside.

Pierce the potato all over with a fork.  Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes.  Using a hot pad, cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. 

Using a fork, mash the potato well.  Mash in the salt and pepper.  Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg, discarding the remaining egg.  Sift in the flour and knead until just blended.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Roll each piece between your plams and the work surface into 1/2 inch diameter rope (about 20 inches long).  Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.  Roll each piece of dough over the tines of the fork to form grooves in the dough.  If you have a wooden paddle with ridges, you are welcome to use this instead.

Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water until the gnocchi rise to the surface, about 1 minute.  Continue cooking until the gnocchi are tender, about 4 minutes longer.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the hot thyme-butter in the skillet.  Toss to coat.  Spoon the gnocchi and butter sauce into shallow bowls.  Top with Pecorino and serve.

Serves: 4 to 6

This was a tasty recipe but my gnocchi was quite dense and potatoey, not at all like the pillowy taste and texture I was expecting.  I wonder if a ricer from this wish list would have helped with the airiness.  Traditional gnocchi uses semolina flour as potatoes were not introduced to Italy until the 16th century, which would also be something to try.  Overall it was tasty and better yet, I get to cross another item off my list!

What's on your menu this week?  Any new recipes that didn't turn out quite as you expected?  Do tell!


  1. Wow - I definitely do not think I would be gutsy enough to make this.


  2. YUM!! My menu this week?!? Can't lie. Lots of take out. We are out of here on Saturday and I refuse to shop for 3 days, lol.

  3. Those meals sound fab girl! Glad to have you back in the blogging world :-)

  4. Yum! I love gnocchi! I tried it once and I remember that is was quite tasty, but WAY messy to make. That alone has deterred me from making it again.

    Welcome back! I'm glad you had a nice relaxing easter! :)

  5. So glad to hear you got to spend time with family! I know just what you mean - I love blogging but it's nice to check out every once in a while and find time for other things when you need it.

    Your menu looks great! We are so boring, we eat the same meals so often that we rarely try something new. I may have to give one of your recipes a try and spice things up. Last night we broke out the grill for the first time this season and had turkey burgers. It was a great change of pace!

    Hope you have a great week!

  6. A break is very necessary sometimes! And that looks delish, as always! :)

  7. I honestly don't know enough about gnocchi to know if mine even turned out well or not haha, but I do know I enjoyed it! Yours look good and I'm sure they tasted good, if not necessarily traditional :) Glad to see you back!

  8. That looks SO delicious. I might try it to break up some of the monotony of our dinners (we eat a LOT of pasta). I don't think I'd mind a dense and potato-y flavor, either.

  9. I've been MIA over the past week also - sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging! ;)

  10. Welcome back! It is always great to take breaks from our routine. Healthier that way, yes?

    And thanks for the gnocchi recipe. I've always wanted to make one as well. How much time did it take you? Sounds like lots of work.....


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