Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gnocchi bathed in Brown Butter and Thyme

I've mentioned before how I enjoy the sensuousness of tender gnocchi pillows.  And how adding the deep nuttiness of browned butter makes them downright sexy (especially when paired with earthy sage).  Now...thyme may not be quite as seductive as sage, but there was something else that elevated this particular bowl of gnocchi to another level.  Making the gnocchi from scratch.  Getting your hands involved.  Feeling the dough come together with seamless effort.  While I have no problem with picking up a package of gnocchi that was made by other hands, I definitely think that taking an extra 20 minutes to nurture your own turns sexy into euphoric.
Gnocchi bathed in Brown Butter & Thyme
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
makes ~60 gnocchi

¼ c. butter
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1 (1 lb.) russet potato
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. finely ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
¼ c. all-purpose flour (+ more as "kneaded")
 Parmesan, freshly grated

Prick your potato all over, place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for ~12 minutes, turning halfway through.  Put a large pot of water on to boil.  Let the potato cool for a couple of minutes, then carefully cut it in half and peel away the skin, or scoop the flesh from it.  Place potato in a large bowl and mash it well with a fork.  Add salt and pepper and mix.  Measure out three tablespoons of the egg and mix that into the mixture, as well (discard remaining).  Sift the flour over the top and begin to work it in gently.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface to finish kneading all of the flour in. Dough should not be sticky...add a bit more flour, if needed.
Put the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty and amazing, ~5-7 minutes (but keep a close eye on it). Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme leaves.  Set aside for now.
Turn your attention back the dough, then divide it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a rope (about 15" long & ½" in diameter). Cut the dough into 1" pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden gnocchi paddle with ridges (if you're lucky enough to have one) or simply over the tines of a lightly floured fork (if you're not) to form grooves in the dough.  I just push down lightly with my thumb or finger and roll it down the tines.
By now your water should be boiling, so salt it liberally and then gently the gnocchi in and cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface, about 1 minute...then continue cooking until the gnocchi are tender, about 4 more minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the warm browned thyme butter skillet and toss gently to coat.
Transfer to serving bowls and grate Parmesan over each serving.

Sharing this post with:
~ IHCC  where our theme this week is Spuds! (One week left to cook with Giada, then we welcome Jamie Oliver. Yay!)
~Claire at Chez Cayenne who is hosting PPN this week.