Gnocchi Del Casentino-Gnocchi with Greens

I first came across this recipe in the cookbook titled “Tuscany The Beautiful Cookbook”.  That recipe uses wild greens such as dandelion, chicory, curly endive and nettles.  I prefer to use spinach in this recipe mainly because it is easy to find.  This recipe originated in the Casentino mountains in Tuscany, which are home to several monasteries.  The monks used what was at hand to make many of their dishes, mainly wild greens.

Gnocchi del Casentino conditi con burro e salvia

Image via Wikipedia

Gnocchi Del Casentino
Gnocchi with Greens

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh spinach
1 ¼ cups ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1-¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1-cup all-purpose flour
Fresh sage (optional)

Wash the spinach thoroughly and trim off the ends.
Place the spinach in a large saucepan.
Add a small amount of water (enough to steam the spinach).
Bring the water to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.  Drain spinach well, squeezing out excess liquid.
Pat spinach dry with paper towels.
Cut or chop spinach finely and put into a medium bowl.
Add the ricotta cheese, egg, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper.
Mix ingredients together.
Dust your hands with flour and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
Roll the balls in the remaining flour to lightly coat.

Gnocchi del Casentino before cooking

Image via Wikipedia

Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.
Serve hot with melted butter, the remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh sage.

I hope you enjoy this Italian recipe for Gnocchi Del Casentino.

Con tanto amore
Maria

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Traditional Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi has been a traditional type of Italian pasta since Roman times and was first introduced in Europe by the Roman Legions. Originally, gnocchi were made from semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs.  Most people associate potato gnocchi as the traditional Italian gnocchi but potatoes were not available in Europe until after the 16th century.  I decided to start with this gnocchi recipe since it is the first type of gnocchi that I learned how to make.  What I love about this recipe, besides the delicious taste, is the fact that  “gnocco” are simple to make, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make them and you don’t need any special kitchen gadgets.   To save time, you can cook your potoatoes in advance and keep in the refrigerator for several days until you are ready to make the gnocchi.

Recipe for Traditional Potato Gnocchi
Patata Gnocco

Ingredients

2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
1-cup flour
2 eggs
1-teaspoon salt

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove potatoes from the oven and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Scrape the insides of the potatoes into a medium to large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a potatoes masher.
Add the flour and mix together with the potatoes.  Add the eggs and salt and mix until you have a firm, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into thirds.
On a floured surface use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope about 1 inch around.
Cut the rope into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Take the cut pieces of dough and using your finger lightly press the gnocchi onto the back of a fork, to make ridges in the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.

Serve hot with melted butter, fresh chopped Italian parsley and your favorite Italian cheese or serve with your favorite sauce.

Tips: If you have never made gnocchi before, it takes practice to roll the gnocchi on a fork to make the ridges (the ridges or grooves hold the sauce).  If you do find this part difficult, you can just cut the gnocchi and cook them.  

Also you can purchase a Wooden Gnocchi Board (also called a Gnocchi Paddle) to make gnocchi. Grooves in the surface of the board give gnocchi their characteristic texture as the dough is rolled down and shaped on the board.

I hope you enjoy this Italian recipe for Traditional Potato Gnocchi.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love
Maria

L’inizio – Maria’s Potato Gnocchi

Featured

Con tanto amore, this to me is what Italian Cuisine is all about.  Made “with lots of love”.  Italian food is about simplicity mixed in “with lots of love”.  I think that is why Italian Cuisine has become popular.  Simple, fresh, local foods are fused with lots of love to create absolutely amazing dishes that anyone can make.  Throw in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, fresh produce, fresh herbs and wonderful Italian wines and you get foods that are healthy, artistic, marvelous and yes, exciting. Not only do I have a passion for Italian food, but I also love cooking and creating Italian dishes.

I guess that’s what Italian Cuisine is for me.  Using foods and produce that are locally available and fresh to make simple,  wonderful and delicious dishes.  My passion is food, so what could be better than writing a blog about food. Sounds great but, food/recipes is really too big for just one blog.  So, after a lot of thinking I decided that I would write about my favorite type of food, which happens to be Italian Cuisine.

Mostra di pani e dolci tradizionali della Sard...

Well, this too presented some problems for me, since Italian food, not only varies from region to region but Italian cuisine is quite varied and vast. Italian cuisine has been around since the 4th century BCE. That’s over 2,000 years.

So, where to start. That’s when it hit me.  Why not start at the l’inizio “beginning”.  And the beginning of Italian food for me is pasta!  Sounds simple, but there are so many types of pasta and so many different dishes, my head was swimming with were to start.  So, I decided, why not start at the beginning.  The beginning of pasta or if you will the precursor or forerunner of pasta in my option is gnocchi.  So, what better way to start a journey of Italian Cuisine than with gnocchi or Italian dumplings.

Maria’s Traditional Potato Gnocchi
Patata Gnocco

Ingredients

2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
1-cup flour
2 eggs
1-teaspoon salt

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove potatoes from the oven and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Scrape the insides of the potatoes into a medium to large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a potatoes masher.
Add the flour and mix together with the potatoes.  Add the eggs and salt and mix until you have a firm, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into thirds.
On a floured surface use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope about 1 inch around.
Cut the rope into 1 to 2 inch pieces.

Gnocchi

Take the cut pieces of dough and using your finger lightly press the gnocchi onto the back of a fork, to make ridges in the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.
Serve hot with melted butter, fresh chopped Italian parsley and your favorite Italian cheese or serve with your favorite sauce.

Tip: If you have never made gnocchi before, it takes practice to roll the gnocchi on a fork to make the ridges (the ridges or grooves hold the sauce).  If you do find this part difficult, you can just cut the gnocchi and cook them.

Gnocchi Paddle

You could also purchase a Wooden Gnocchi Board (also called a Gnocchi Paddle) to make gnocchi. Grooves in the surface of the board give gnocchi their characteristic texture as the dough is rolled down and shaped on the board.  I don’t have one of these, I make my gnocchi by rolling them on a fork.



I hope you enjoy my journey of Italian Cuisine and the Italian recipes that I have collected and saved throughout the years.  I am always looking for new, exciting or different Italian recipes, tips and helpful hints.  If you have any family Italian recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be happy to share them with the rest of the world.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love


Maria

Stale Bread Gnocchi

The Trentino region in Northern Italy specializes in this particular type of gnocchi that is made with stale bread.  Crusty Italian bread is perfect for this recipe but you could also use rye bread. Bread gnocchi can be flavored with chopped liver, ham or more simply flavored with lots of fresh Italian parsley.  Stale Bread gnocchi is a rustic Italian dish that is delicious served in soup and also makes a nice side dish.

Stale Bread Gnocchi

Ingredients

1 loaf of stale, firm, crusty type bread –cut into one-inch cubes
4 cups milk
2 garlic gloves-minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme-chopped
Pinch-freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
8 cups beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Bread

Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

Place the bread cubes in a medium size bowl and pour the milk over the bread.
Mix thoroughly and let the mixture soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the bread cubes and squeeze out the excess milk.
Place the bread cubes back into the bowl and add the garlic, pepper, thyme and pinch of nutmeg.
Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Beat eggs until thoroughly mixed.
Add the eggs to the bread mixture and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  (You might need to use you hands to get the ingredients mixed).
In a large stockpot, bring the stock to a boil.
Roll the bread mixture into 1 to 2 inch balls and drop into the boiling stock.  When the stock returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until the gnocchi have puffed up and float to the top.
Remove using a slotted spoon, drain and arrange on a serving dish.
Drizzle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Serve hot.

I hope you enjoy this Italian recipe for stale bread gnocchi.

Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love
Maria