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Where to go to improve your cooking and knowledge of food.

Gnocchi and mediterranean aroma

According to Chef Loic Malfait, when serving Gnocchi you should always think of paying tribute to the  Mediterranean diet.

There are so many combinations one can make.

Bell peppers, green onions, beats, cabbages, and of course tomatoes, are the substantial veggies.

Fresh, fragrant dill, basil, peppermint, and other herbs are always a must. Don’t forget the olive oil, Italian food doesn’t taste the same without it.

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Filed under Gnocchi, Interview, Le Cordon Bleu, Learning, Sauces, Tradition

Gnocchi shape and sauces

Why do Gnocchi have this funny shape?

At Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, Chef Loic Malfait tells us the secret to the perfect gnocchi dish. The potato dough’s shape is no stranger to that. Indeed, the shell shape retains the sauce in the curves and enables them  to fuse with the sauce.

Therefore, the Gnocchi’s shape is a witty way to make your dish yummier!

See previous post to learn how to make them look like they should: https://gnocchinight.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/shaping-gnocchi-le-cordon-bleu/

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Shaping gnocchi @ Le Cordon Bleu

Here comes one, here comes all.

As I said earlier, Chef Loic Malfait taught me plenty of wonderful things about Italian gastronomy and gnocchi. In a series of little clips, you will become as knowledgeable as I have become. … I am joking of course, but I do feel the exciting topics (and tips) we covered could make you shine at the dinner table.

Make sure you don’t miss anything. It’s always great to learn from the best.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby present to you Chef Loic Malfait of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School!

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Filed under Lawson Dodd, Le Cordon Bleu, Learning, Recipes, Tradition

Traditional Gnocchi Shape Know-How

Earlier this week, I had a little chat with Chef Loic Malfait from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. We got to talking about gnocchi and how to prepare them. According to the chef, the Italian potato dough should always be served as a tribute to its Mediterranean origin. We can then play with southern flavors such as basil, olive oil, mozzarella, and pesto. You get the picture…

Pillowy dumplings are best to define the delectable gnocchis and with a glass of wine, they are almost a fashion statement nowadays. Of course the greatest thing is  not only that as a meal they taste amazing with almost anything, but they are also affordable and easy to make.

However I must admit the ‘finesse’ of the dish relies on the shape of the little goodies. Paying attention to details is key here and I suggest looking at traditional Italian cookery books to get an idea of how gnocchi should look like.

The perfect/traditional shape of Gnocchis resembles a sea-shell. To make them have this particular silhouette is a must and does not require any particular skill or wit. Indeed, follow the following steps:

  • Take some of your dough preparation and roll it to make a lengthy sort of sausage.
  • Cut the end of it and roll it your hand to make a little ball.
  • Then take a fork and squeeze gently the little ball onto the fork’s end.
  • Roll it up and you’ll have a little seashell look alike.
  • The perfect gnocchi is in your hand.

Just a tip: don’t forget to put some flour onto the fork. Otherwise, it may stick onto the tool and it can get nasty.

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Gnocchi know how

Making Potato Gnocchi

The quality of your gnocchi depends on the quality of your potato.  It should be a perfect balance between floury and waxy.  Our team is planning and extensive planting programme so next year we will have scientific ‘proof’ but for now we are backing King Edwards.

Scrub, but do not peel, about a Kilo of potatoes.  Place them in well salted cold water and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer until soft (depends on the size of your potatoes, it’s easier if they are all of a similar size).  While still hot, peel them.  Now you have a choice.  Some say dry them out for 10 or 15 minutes in a medium oven.  If you want to try this, break the cooked potatoes and place in a baking tray and cover loosely with foil.

Alternatively mash them finely – a ricer is perfect, a fork will do – but it is worth pushing the resultant mash through a sieve if you’ve gone for the fork method.  Then add 300g of flour, 00 or plain.  If using plain flour (it delivers a better result if sifted), one whole egg and a very good pinch of salt.  Mix together whilst the potato is still hot.

Dust your work surface with flour.  Giorgio Locatelli recommends flattening your mix in to a rough square about 1.5cm thick and slicing it in to 1.5cm strips then gently rolling it.  I like the precision of this but it’s equally good to take off a chunk and roll it into a sausage about 1.5cm thick.  Cut the resulting sausage in to 1 – 1.5cm lengths using more flour as needed to stop it sticking to the surface or to each other.

Lastly, take a small fork and lightly press it down on each piece of Gnocchi – so the fork leaves an impression.

If you are going to cook immediately, bring a pan of well salted water to the boil and gently pop the gnocchi in.  When the Gnocchi comes to the surface, it’s cooked.  Scoop out with a slotted spoon or sieve and sprinkle with olive oil and a sliver of butter to stop them sticking together whilst you warm the sauce of your choice.

Gnocchi freezes well but you need to do it on a floured tray so they don’t freeze into one big blob.  You can cook straight from frozen and the same rule applies – when it rises to the top of the pan, it’s cooked

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