Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Gnocchi with Corn and Scallions

I don't like chowder.

I don't like corn chowder, I don't like clam chowder, I don't like any kind of chowder.   Just looking at it in a bowl kind of makes my stomach turn.  Part of it is a texture issue - I don't like mushy food.  I don't even like potato soup.  Come to think of it, I don't like any pureed soups.  Also, it just looks gross.  Blech!

I'm a picky eater, I guess.

My mother in law is in town visiting and she was telling me about how she was thinking about taking a class to learn to make gnocchi.  Well, heck, I know how to make gnocchi!  I wanted something kind of summery though, so I didn't want to use the butter sauce or even a tomato one.  Then, as I was going through an ancient copy of Martha Stewart Living I came across a pasta recipe that I knew would be great adapted to go with my gnocchi.

The magazine described it as halfway between a chowder and a pasta salad.  Maybe it's because I didn't use the pasta for which it called, but I think it's definitely more on the chowder side of things.  Still, the flavors were all things I liked so I decided, what the heck, right?


I know it's not much to look at, but holy heck was this good!  We'll definitely be having this again.  Also, I think I've found my new favorite cooking method.  It involves me sitting on the couch holding a baby and calling out instructions to my husband and his mom, who then execute them.  When dinner is done, someone brings me a plate!  Awesome!


Gnocchi with Corn, Bacon and Scallions

 Gnocchi
* 2 lbs potatoes 
* 2 egg yolks
* generous pinch of salt
* 1 1/2 cups (188g) all purpose flour
* 6 quarts water
* 1/4 cup coarse salt

 Sauce
* 4 cups corn (from 5 ears) 
 * 1/2 cup chicken stock OR 1/2 cup water with 1/2 heaping teaspoon chicken bouillon powder 
 * 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
 * 4 ounces sliced smoked bacon, chopped 
 * 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 
 * 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
 * Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
 * 3 scallions, thinly sliced 
 * 2 cups baby arugula or mixed greens 
 * Garnish: shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano 


 Directions 
1. Pierce potatoes and bake in 350 degree oven until they are fork tender. Cut into halves or quarters lengthwise so they’ll cool faster. 
2. Set 6 quarts water to boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add ¼ cup coarse salt. 
3. When they are cool enough to handle, but still warm, scoop the potatoes from their skins using a large spoon. Use a ricer to mash them finely. 
4. Add egg yolks, salt, and flour to riced potatoes. Gently combine using your hands until dough forms a ball.
5. Working with a small amount at a time, roll the dough out into long thin logs. Cut into pieces about 3/4" long, and make an indentation in each piece with your thumb. 
6. Put them on a baking sheet that has been lined with waxed paper and/or sprinkled with flour while you work. After you've gotten them all made, place them into your pot of salted boiling water. Wait for them to float to the surface, then boil for another minute. Remove cooked gnocchi to baking sheet and set aside. Reserve 2 cups of the salted cooking water. ***The pasta releases starch as it cooks, and the starchy water is essential to the sauce.*** 
7. Puree 1 cup corn, 1/2 cup water, and chicken bouillon powder in a blender. Set aside. 
8. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add corn puree, remaining 3 cups corn kernels, 2 tablespoons butter, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until corn is soft, about 5 minutes. 
9. Toss in gnocchi, 1 cup reserved cooking water, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cook until sauce is creamy, about 3 minutes. Toss in scallions and arugula. Garnish with cheese.

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