SEATTLE — Author Teresa Lust cooks gnocchi from her new book, A Blissful Feast:Culinary Adventures in Italy's Piedmont, Maremma, and Le Marche. Lust, a Washington native, shares the simple and rustic recipe along with the story of Giuseppina, her Italian cousin who taught her about heritage, the land, and food.
Recipe: Teresa Lust's Gnocchi Alla Bava
From Teresa Lust's "A Blissful Feast".
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients for Gnocchi
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 medium egg
- Semolina flour, for dusting
Ingredients for Serving
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, grated
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Pierce the potatoes with a fork or skewer a few times to help the moisture escape as they cook.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a fork slips in without resistance, then remove from the oven and split them in half to let the steam continue escaping.
- Peel the potatoes as soon as they are cool enough to handle and put them through a ricer.
- Transfer the riced potatoes to a pastry board dusted with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, then sprinkle the rest of the flour over the top.
- Work the flour into the potatoes with a pastry scraper and create a mound with a well in the middle. Break the egg into the center, stir it with a fork, and continue blending the mixture with the help of the scraper until it comes together. Finish by kneading the dough a few times, dusting it with additional flour if needed, until it forms a smooth, soft loaf.
- Cut the loaf into slices and roll out on a flour-dusted work surface to form ropes as thick as a finger. Cut the ropes into half-inch pieces and sprinkle with semolina flour to keep them from sticking. Roll each piece down a gnocchi paddle or the back of a fork, leaving ridges on one side and a dimple from your finger on the other.
- Just before serving, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a heaping tablespoon of salt, and when foaming subsides, begin adding the gnocchi, working in batches to keep them from crowding.
- Stir a few times to dislodge any gnocchi that have stuck to the bottom of the pot, and boil gently until tender, about 10 to 15 seconds after they float to the surface.
- Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a baking dish, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with grated cheese. Continue layering until all the gnocchi are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste and give the gnocchi a final stir to coat them evenly. Serve hot.
ABOUT THE BOOK: "In A Blissful Feast:Culinary Adventures in Italy's Piedmont, Maremma, and Le Marche Chef Lust (Pass the Polenta) chronicles her culinary journey across three regions of Italy—the Piedmont in the northwest, from where her maternal grandparents hail; the Maremma in southern Tuscany; and Le Marche in central Italy—in this inviting collection of essays. After a trip to Italy to visit extended family in the Piedmont, she decided that she wanted “to explore [the] connection to my mother’s cooking, wanted to trace the origins of the dishes my grandmother used to make, wanted to expand my repertoire.” The narrative follows her across multiple visits to Italy, where she meets family, sharpens her Italian language skills, apprentices in village trattorias, and samples specialties such as scrambled eggs with asparagus in Le Marche and chestnut tortelli in Maremma. The book’s dozens of recipes include rabbit with white wine and rosemary; turkey and ricotta meat loaf; and bruschetta with figs and gorgonzola. Throughout, Lust offers entertaining food history facts, including the fact that pizza didn’t become popular in Northern Italy until after WWII and that Napoleon recruited Italian bakers to make bread sticks for him at home in Paris. This is a satisfying celebration of Italian food and family, complete with delectable recipes." Publisher's Weekly.