Don’t let my Nonna read this. Shame on me for having to attend a pasta class. But boxed pasta is so damn easy! So is going out to eat.
When I got the email from EAT, it mentioned that Nick, the pasta teacher, has been cooking since he was in kindergarten. That seems dangerous, but at least he has a lot of experience.
The class began perfectly: with a cocktail, a really earthy beet cocktail served really strong by Jordon, the owner of Eat.
We got right into it. Well Jon did. He was made to mill the potatoes then hand mix the gnocchi batter. No fancy restaurant machinery is necessary to make gnocchi at home.
Boil about 1.5 lbs. of potatoes in cold water salted water, then let them cool. Reserve the starchy water, which can be used to incorporate into the gnocchi batter if it’s too dry. Mill the potatoes in a food mill or use a potato masher. Then by hand mix the potatoes with about 2c. of flour. You want a mushy, not too dry, chunky consistency.
Then roll the batter out and pinch pieces off pieces with a butter knife. It’s good to let them sit at room temperature for a few hours if possible, so they don’t turn into blobs when you boil them.
Nick was very specific about pasta boiling. You want pasta to boil in ALOT of very salty water. He even tasted the water for salt content. If it doesn’t have enough water, then it doesn’t have enough room to release the starch, and it will be impossible to ever achieve the transcendental al dente pasta status. And stir. After you add the pasta, stir it once so it doesn’t stick.
Boil the gnocchi for about 6 minutes as the “floating rule” doesn’t always apply.
Now it’s time for creamy sauce. After you drain your pasta (remember to save some of the water!) add it back to the hot pot. Then add danish bleu cheese, grated grana padano cheese, butter and some of that reserved pasta water if needed.
That is it! What you have is the most delicious and creamy homemade gnocchi in town.
To top it all off, this amazing meal was followed by honey buckwheat cake.
Nick is leaving Brooklyn to live on a farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country and once per week he is going to serve sandwiches that are going to blow the amish people’s socks off at the Eastern Market there. Road trip!