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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gnocchi with thyme-butter sauce and browned cauliflower (Italian)

The gnocchi are one of the most known Italian foods. In some parts of the western world you can find them ready made in supermarkets, but even in those areas families of Italian ancestry will still have their own home-made available in the freezer at all times. And why wouldn't they, since gnocchi are so easy to make? 
A traditional take on this pasta is to serve it with a butter-thyme sauce, which we did here. But we went a little further and accompanied it with some browned cauliflower florets, which we'll state as optional. It's not specifically Italian to include this specific browned vegetable to the dish, but it's not a no-no either.
Anyway, even if you just serve them with thyme melted butter and Parmesan, you'll love the delicious soft-tasting gnocchi. Must try them if you haven't had them before.

Ingredients (serves 1-2):
  • 65 g butter
  • 1 small potato
  • 4 tablespoons flour (or 1-2 more, depending on your potato)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 250 g cauliflower florets (optional)
  • 75 g grated Parmesan

Start by boiling the potato (or baking it, or microwaving it, whatever you prefer, just get it cooked):

Pick the thyme leaves to have them prepared:

When the potato's cooked, scoop out its content and mash it in a bowl:

Add to it the dried basil, salt and pepper to taste:

Mix well, then add 2 tablespoons of flour (for start). Mix them well into the potato with your fingers, then add two tablespoons more.

After you mix them too in, if the composition still feels a little sticky, you need to add a bit more flour. If it's not sticky, you're done:

Next, shape the dough into a thin log and cut 3 cm long pieces out of it:

Press a fork into each of those segments, to create little ditches (those will be great for catching sauce later!) and to give them the specific gnocchi form:

If using cauliflower, wash it and break it into the florets:

Melt the butter in a small pan:

After the butter's melted, turn off the heat underneath and add the thyme to it:

Mix and let the butter and thyme infuse. Meanwhile, heat a pot with water to boil the gnocchi. Don't boil too many at a time so they don't stick. Add them when the water starts to boil. After a minute they'll rise up to the surface:

Let them boil for 4-5 minutes more. If using cauliflower, add the florets to the butter-thyme sauce and fry them gently for 10 minutes, turning once in a while to brown evenly:

When the gnocchi are boiled, fish them up and arrange on serving plate(s):

Also add the browned cauliflower with all its sauce (or just the sauce) over and next to the gnocchi:

Sprinkle the Parmesan on top of each plate and it's done. Dig in! :)

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