Close your eyes and imagine, if you will: you had a hell of a week (for me it was someone stealing my debit card information and taking half of my savings), you sit down for dinner and placed in front of you is a dish full of a pillow-shaped pasta coated in a mushroom cream sauce as delectable as anything in the world could seem. Taking a bite of the magical pasta, you are hit with the hearty, nutty and slightly tangy taste of the soft pillows. Now you might ask, because somehow you’re talking to me from the future, “Sinjin, what is this pasta you claim to be the best comfort food in the world?” Well dear reader, the pasta I speak of is gnocchi, and after seeing the photos you’re probably going to make it.
Ingredients need to make the gnocchi:
4 large potatoes
1 beaten egg yolk
100g all purpose flour
Ingredients needed for the mushroom cream sauce:
1 clove of garlic
150mL of red cooking wine
250mL of heavy cream
Cold, unsalted butter
Let’s start with making the pillowy goodness: the gnocchi. To start, prepare the potatoes for grating, so preheat the event to 375℉, poking holes in the potatoes with a fork so they don’t explode, and when the oven is to the correct temperature, put those starchy boys in there for an hour.
After one hour has passed, peel those potatoes.
Pro tip: Use a kitchen towel to keep the hot potatoes from burning your delicate, fleshy hands. Once the potatoes are peeled, leave them to sit under a towel for at least a half hour. Remember that less steam in the potatoes means lighter, fluffier gnocchi. Because I was busy, I let the potatoes sit overnight. As long as you leave the potatoes out for at least an hour, they will be fine. Now, grate the potatoes through the fine holes of a cheese grater.
Now, take the potatoes and spread them on a pan. Spread the beaten egg yolk (one yolk per 500g of potatoes) and sieve the flour as evenly as possible across all of the potatoes.
This is important, as you will next be kneading this all together, and if you knead the dough a lot it will be tough. So knowing this, knead it all together and bring it into a dough ball.
Roll the dough ball into a fat log and ignore the fact I used that descriptor. Cut it into four manageably sized pieces.
Get ready for more rolling. Now, roll these quarters into 1-inch thick ropes.
Now you have gnocchi; you can freeze it and use it for later or you can make a meal of it now.
Let’s go with the latter option and make a meal right now because your productivity can only last so long.
Cut the portabella mushrooms into the desired size and sauté them with minced garlic and onions. Preferably, do this in a nonstick pan and allow some of the ingredients to stick to the bottom; this is called fond and will be amazing for the sauce.
Once you have a nice fond forming, deglaze with some red cooking wine, which you will reduce on low heat while scraping the fond off the bottom of the pan.
I used Marsala wine, but you can use any wine you like. Generally, I would say don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink, and you should follow this.
While doing this, make sure to put a pot of water on to boil; this is to cook the gnocchi.
As the wine is reducing you will notice at some point the liquid is getting thick. At this point, add the heavy cream and let simmer.
While letting the cream simmer add the gnocchi to the boiling water. It will cook for about 90 seconds, and you will know it is done when it floats up to the top, at which point you will save our starchy boys from the watery hell we have doomed them to.
From the pot to the sauce the gnocchi will go, at which point you will toss them in the saucy goodness you have created.
Now, you can plate and enjoy the most amazing comfort food you never knew you needed until you read this recipe. From here, you can let your struggles melt away and have only one struggle left, and that is how to pronounce the damn pasta.
Is it pronounced ‘nyo-key’ or nyok-e’ or ‘nyoi-key’ or ‘nok-e’ or ‘no-key’? Who knows? Not me and probably not you.