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Chris Amirault

Fresh/Stuffed Pasta & Gnocchi--Cook-Off 13

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Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo.

Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines.

So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!

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Yeah!

now I can finally try that pasta machine I bought over a year ago..... :hmmm:

I am really looking foward to this one, when I was a child my great-grandmother used to live with us a couple months a year and when she was there Sundays were ravioli days. She would clear off our large dining room table and roll out by hand and fill enough ravioli for 11 people.... It is hard to eat store bought stuff after that.

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I've had a good recipe and technique of gnocchi for a few months, just waiting for local buttenut squash to come into season. I'll share my source, but I strongly advise printing out the recipe, because it's past dated for being removed from the site.

Watch the technique video, Chef Keller does a very good job making it simple.

Chef Keller

woodburner


Edited by woodburner (log)

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Need your pictures of gnocchi-making!

I tried the recipe from Lidia Bastianich and used self-rising rather than all-purpose flour, and they were good but the next day they were like a ton of bricks!

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I have my mom & dad's Atlas pasta "machine" that they used when I was a child... so I'll be making pasta with an appliance that is probably over 50 years old! What I remember the most about that was that they placed the spaghetti on indoor laundry racks to dry. What a funny sight I thought it was.

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Last time I made fresh pasta I just did sheets and made lasagna....it sealed itself and puffed up about 4 inches over the top of the pan :shock:

t

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i finally got myself a digital camera and will finally be able to do stuff. anyways i stumbled across this little gem about pasta to get your minds in pasta mode.when we say pasta are we referring to the italian version of it and not the asian?

the pasta debate


Edited by chef koo (log)

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i finally got myself a digital camera and will finally be able to do stuff. anyways i stumbled across this little gem about pasta to get your minds in pasta mode.when we say pasta are we referring to the italian version of it and not the asian?

the pasta debate

Uhm, what's supposed to be in that link? I just get a "page can't be displayed" message.

As for your basic question - I have to admit, I always think of Italian pasta, and am most likely to try that, but why shouldn't Asian pasta be included? Teach us, please! :biggrin:

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As for your basic question - I have to admit, I always think of Italian pasta, and am most likely to try that, but why shouldn't Asian pasta be included?  Teach us, please!  :biggrin:

Hmmm. Potstickers just might be in my future, as might be ravioli. Come a week from Tuesday, the kids go back to school (yes, I love them, but their first day at school is my favorite day of the year), I should dig out that Atlas pasta maker that I got when I got married and has been used twice and put it to a use other than a door stop.

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when we say pasta are we referring to the italian version of it and not the asian?

I definitely meant Italian pasta (or, more broadly, Mediterranean) this go-round and will clarify above, but I'd be absolutely compelled if someone were to make fresh Chinese egg noodles. And don't forget the pad thai cook-off above!

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Talk about cosmic timing...on Lidia's PBS show this weekend she made three kinds of potato gnocchi's: Whole Wheat Gnocchi with a Toasted Bread Crumb & Butter sauce, Poppy Seed Gnocchi with a Poppy Seed & Butter Sauce and plain Gnocchi with a Marinara Sauce.

Here is her potato gnocchi recipe.

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Excellent.... Which begs the question: does anyone have an absolutely failsafe, tried-and-true gnocchi recipe that produces little potato pillows? I'm very much eager to master these buggers for a browned butter sauce (if only to use up some of the sage bushes that take over my herb garden annually).

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What I remember the most about that was that they placed the spaghetti on indoor laundry racks to dry.  What a funny sight I thought it was.

That's what we do now, too! I suppose there are better ways. Ideas?

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What I remember the most about that was that they placed the spaghetti on indoor laundry racks to dry.  What a funny sight I thought it was.

That's what we do now, too! I suppose there are better ways. Ideas?

you know, I've never dried my fresh pasta before using it. I was always taught to dust the finished strands in flour to prevent sticking as you wait to finish up the batch, then to toss them directly in the water or freeze when done. I make fresh pasta about twice a month and am always happy with my results.

Does anyone know why the drying step is necessary? Does it really improove the flavor or texture?

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Sorry -- to clarify -- I need a place to hang the spaghetti, say, while I'm rolling and cutting the dough. I don't really do it to dry it per se, just to put it somewhere. Living in the humid northeast, I can't always ball them with a bit of extra flour.

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Interesting. I guess maybe that's why they hung it, too... just to have a place to put it. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure.

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I'm on for gnocchi!

yum... I had the best gnocchi in Milan, very very plain with light'ish tomato sauce and a little basil snippied through it.

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I have decided I am going to make Pansotti with Walnut Sauce from Mario's new Molto Italiano book (pg 238).

They are sort of like ravioli and are stuffed with red onion, zucchini, bread crumbs, ricotta, pecorino and fresh oregano.

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Kristin, what pasta recipe does Batali use? I'm starting to think about hunting down some "00" flour here in Providence somewhere, to use instead of the all-purpose King Arthur that I currently use. My ratios have been the basic 3 eggs to 2 cups flour, with dribbles of water and dusts of flour as needed.

One other thought as I look outside at the rain: I've learned through trial and much error that those pasta sheets need to be nicely dusted before going through the final cut, especially using a machine. I've had too many fettucine blobs gather where delicate fronds should be! :wacko:

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That's kind of a french method. Pepin does the same thing then pipe into boiling water.

Keller has a recipe for gnocchi that uses pate choux instead of potato

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This sounds like it's right up my alley! I'll make a few different ones, probably starting with ricotta gnocchi (because they're so easy). I'll make a more detailed post this time around, but here is a little ricotta gnocchi action from one of my foodblogs for anyone who might be interested in trying it out:

gallery_8505_1301_22911.jpg

Start with good ricotta (not the watery Polly-O crap), a few egg yolks, flour and, if you're me, plenty of nutmeg.  Mix into a light dough, adding just enough flour to bind it together.

gallery_8505_1301_9779.jpg

Roll the dough into cylinders and cut it into pieces.

gallery_8505_1301_13635.jpg

Get a guy with thick fingers and hairy forearms to flick each piece over the tines of a dinner fork, and then you're done.  Toss them into boiling water and they're done when they float to the top.

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