Grandma's Sicilian Gnocchi !!
Gnocchi recipes aren't for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go wrong. I'm not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistance. At their best potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate. LOL :)
My grandma who was a nun (true story also very long story) she was always disappointed we didn't have a potato ricer or potato mill on hand, but said that mashing the potatoes by hand would be fine. I've done it many times by hand now, and it is fine. For those of you wanting to do some of the preparation in advance, in one test I cooked and mashed a batch of potatoes a day ahead of time, put them in a covered bowl overnight, and incorporated the egg and flour the next day when I was ready to cook the gnocchi - no problems.
Scant 2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)
1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten
scant 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
fine grain sea salt
Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel it before moving on to the next potato. Also, peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water (without burning yourself) - I've found a paring knife comes in handy here. Be mindful that you want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot. To do this you can either push the potatoes through a ricer, or do what I do, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork - mash isn't quite the right term here. I run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with. Don't over-mash - you are simply after an even consistency with no lumps.
Save the potato water.
Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board - ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough that the egg won't cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound - drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, the weather, and whether the gnocchi gods are smiling on you. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.
To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand (see photo) and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork, cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight "C" shape. Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don't get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it's easy.
Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot (salted), and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Take them out of the water a few at a time. Have a large platter ready with a generous swirl of whatever sauce you'll be serving on the gnocchi. Continue cooking in batches until all the gnocchi are done. Gently toss with more sauce or pesto (don't overdo it, it should be a light dressing), and serve immediately, family-style with a hint of good olive oil on top.
The beautiful years when i was learning all about my grandma's recipes .... Gracias Abuela Nona <3
Let me spice up your Thanksgiving! Puerto Ricans call this “Pavochon” because it’s a recipe with a “lechon” (pork roast) taste. Try it with “Mofongo” stuffing too (see Mofongo recipe at the bottom of this page)!. I’m getting my Christmas Recipes ready for you, so don’t miss my next recipe. Now let’s get this turkey (absolutely not me!!) in the oven. Yes you are welcome!!!
A twist to your Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe!!
1 12 Lb. turkey
½ tsp. of pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic “a pilonazo (crushed in a pilón)
1 tsp. of oregano (Leaf)
* Rule of Thumb- For every pound of Turkey, use 1 teaspoon of Adobo
* You can substitute Chicken for Turkey for this recipe. See my instructions below.
*Do not stuff the turkey until you are ready to cook it.
The Day Before Cooking:
Sprinkle your turkey with Adobo, inside and out and all around.
Mix together the crushed garlic, pepper, and oregano and rub a dub dub, all over the turkey, so it will acquire a really good taste. Place the turkey in the refrigerator until cooking. DO NOT stuff the turkey yet.
The day you are going to cook the turkey:
Start by turning the oven on to 325º.
Stuff the turkey (not the mouth) with my “Basic Turkey Stuffing” recipe.
Place the turkey on a foil lined baking dish.
Coat the turkey with vegetable oil or if you prefer, it can be butter.
Cover the whole turkey with aluminum foil and put it in the heated oven.
Cook the turkey as follows:
If your turkey is 4 to 6 pounds, cook for about 3 to 3 ¾ hours.
If your turkey is 6 to 8 pounds, cook for about 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours.
If your turkey is 8 to 12 pounds, cook for about 4 to 5 hours.
If your turkey is bigger than that, invite me over so I won’t have to cook. He He He
These times are approximately because everyone has a different picky oven, and I know how picky they can be, Check the turkey to see if it’s done according to the time table. It might need a little more time, so leave it 15 minutes more if you think it is not done. The turkey should be juicy and YUM YUM!!! If you took too long fooling around with your sweetie, it will burn and “San Gilbert” will never forgive you. By the way, San Gilbert is “Thanksgiving”. Did you figure that one out?
When you are thawing the turkey in the refrigerator, place it in the warmer part of the refrigerator. To thaw it even faster, submerge the whole turkey with wrapping under cold water. DO NOT take the wrapping off. You want to retain the flavor. A big turkey will take approximately 2 days to thaw out in the refrigerator.
If you want to taste something different, stuff the turkey with my “Mofongo” recipe.
While the turkey is cooking, make your other dishes to go with the turkey. Try my “Coquito” recipe so you can get ready for Christmas. Don’t drink too much or the turkey will gobble YOU up. Adjust the recipe ingredients when making chicken instead of turkey.
A little more to enjoy !!!
Mofongo Turkey Stuffing
5 large green plantains
* Use 5 large green plantains & oil to make tostones.
1 lb bacon, sautéed and chopped into small pieces (discard large chunks of fat)
3 tsp. chopped garlic
3 sweet chili peppers (ajíes dulces), seeded and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
* Combine the bacon, garlic, peppers, and olive oil. Mash 5 tostones with about 1/5 of the oil mixture in a pilon. Repeat the process until all ingredients are used up.
To make stuffing:
1/3 cup chicken broth
Combine mofongo and broth. Ad more broth if not moist enough. Stuff the bird and follow instructions that came with your bird. (Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, covered, then remove cover and bake another 15 minutes until crispy on top.