Monday, October 11, 2010

Gnocchi in Sage Cream Sauce

Last month I spent 36 magical hours at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kona. During my visit I had the chance to dine twice at Beach Tree Restaurant and spend an afternoon with the charming Chef de Cuisine of Beach Tree, Nick Mastracusa.
I will be doing a further blog about him and the dining experience at Beach Tree, but this one is about something he taught me! I have made gnocchi before and eaten them in many forms at restaurants, but they always seem dense and doughy. Nick gave me and my friend Janet a lesson in the way his family makes gnocchi.
In Beach Tree Style, this included some awesome White Sangria
The secret is in using *00* super fine flour, ricing the potatoes and making the dough by hand. The result is a lighter fluffier pillow of pasta. When we made the Gnocchi with Nick he invited us to stay for dinner, where we would dine on the gnocchi with a slow cooked sauce made with braised oxtails. Unfortunately, I had another commitment, one which I was highly tempted to skip, but he packaged up our gnocchi, gave us sauce, fresh mozzarella and herbs and we took the goodies home to cook later. 
I made gnocchi again last night using his method, 3:2:1, three large russet potatoes, 2 cups of *00* Superfine Italian Flour, and one large egg. I had one little disaster the night before. I had set out the flour from my flour vault. We cannot buy this flour here in Hawaii and I have to import it from Italy. While I am normally a localvore, I do take exception when it comes to ethnic foods, where I believe ingredients are key and this is one of them. In the middle of the night, my kitten, Pili jumped up on the counter, grabbed the bag of flour, hauled it up two sets of stairs and across the bedroom where he proceeded to tear it apart and paint the floor with it. Fortunately I had back up flour.
For the dinner party last night, the gnocchi was a side dish and I used a Sage Cream sauce to top it. It was a gift of love to my guests.
The recipe is in this picture... a menu from the Beach Tree that Chef Nick gave me to make notes on.
Double click for detail... 
The sauce is easy too...
1/2 cup of butter
18 sage leaves chopped lightly
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of home made chicken stock.
1 cup of parmesan finely grated

While the gnocchi is boiling, melt the butter in a frying pan. Add sage leaves. When the leaves start to brown, add the cream and stock and reduce to about half. Then add the parmesan and stir for a few minutes. Add the drained gnocchi and serve. I think next time I may add some buttered bread crumbs.

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