Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spinach Gnocchi with Spicy Garlic Marinara

It's my first post that's an entree. Huzza! Of course it comes promptly after I got a nod from cupcakes take the cake. It wasn't much, but it massively upped my readership, at least for that day.

I threw a dinner party last Saturday, and decided to make a mess of food. I was only feeding six people, but I wanted to make enough to bring back to Richmond (I’m subletting a place there), and feed myself for the week. I decided to make something that would transport and keep easily. I’ve been wanting to try making Gnocchi for awhile now, so I made spinach gnocchi with roasted garlic marinara sauce. The gnocchi was pretty good, but the pasta sauce was excellent. As noted, I made ridiculous quantities of these foods. I’ve tried to reduce the recipes to more reasonable proportions here, but be aware that the pictures I’ve posted are from making a mess of sauce and 5lbs potatoes worth of Gnocci.

To make the pasta sauce I used home made roasted garlic and roasted garlic oil. It’s really easy to make yourself. I used the recipe here, but only made 2 heads of garlic worth.

Spicy Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce

Should make ~4 servings

2 Tbs roasted garlic oil
1 Tbs olive oil
¼ head roasted garlic
2 cloves raw garlic, lightly crushed
1 28-oz can skinned, whole, plum tomatoes, packed in tomato juice and basil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp Oregano (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Here's the garlic roasted in Oil:

1. Put two tablespoons of oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Put the roasted and raw garlic in the pan and let simmer until the garlic begins to turn golden, stirring occasionally.

2. Drain the can of tomatoes and reserve the juice (you’ll probably throw it away, but if you want your sauce to be more liquid, you can add it later. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and turn the heat up to medium high. Using a masher or a big spoon, mash up some of the tomatoes until you get the consistency you want. The heat will also break the tomatoes down.

3. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper, stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and reduce until you get a consistency you like. I probably reduced it for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

4. Serve sauce warm over Gnocchi, or whatever other pasta you are serving.

Spinach Gnocchi

Makes 2 main course servings

1 Lbs potatoes (use Idaho or Russet DO NOT USE WAXY POTATOES)
10 oz Spinach (I used frozen)
~1 cup flour
Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg to taste

1. Put the potatoes into a pot of boiling water. Boil for 35-45, or until tender.

2. Wilt the spinach, either by thawing it in the microwave if you’re using frozen, or by putting the spinach into boiling water for a minute, and then submerging it in ice water, if you are using fresh. Chop the spinach up very finely.

3. Once the potatoes are ready, take them out of the water and skin tem one at a time. It is important that the potatoes still be hot when they are riced, so this needs to be done quickly. Move the potatoes using tongs, and hold them using oven mitts. Chances are you will burn yourself doing this. Once you’ve taken the first potato out, you may wish to turn the heat down under the remaining potatoes.

4. As each potato is peeled, put it through a ricer. If your ricer has multiple size options, use the smallest holes available. Continue until all the potatoes are riced.

5. Mix the riced potatoes with the spinach, a generous amount of salt, the pepper and the nutmeg. Kneed the ingredients together. Add half a cup of flour, and kneed it into the dough. Different people will require different amounts of flour. Keep adding until the mixture takes on a sticky dough like quality. The best way to test when you’ve added enough flour is just to pinch off some dough, roll it into a bowl, and put it into some boiling water. If the gnocchi stays together, there is enough flour.

6. Other recipes suggest rolling the dough into long ropes ½ an inch think, and then cutting the ropes into ¼ inch segments. I just rolled the dough into small balls in my hands. Place the balls in one layer on a cookie sheet or in a casserole dish. Try not to let the balls touch each other, or they will stick

7. To cook, place the gnocchi one at a time into a pot of salted, boiling water. After a minute or so the gnocchi should begin to float. After another minute or so remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon. Let cool and serve with the sauce.

I don't know why, but sometimes blogger automatically rotates my photos, sorry this one is sideways.

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