Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lemony Thyme Mascarpone Italian Gnocchi

Happy Valentine's Day!  Oh wait, that was yesterday!  Why not act like it's Valentine's Day every day.  Don't wait for one or two days a year to roll around to treat your special someone.  While, I admit, it is nice to go out once in awhile and be "served and pampered",  I don't mind creating something in the cucina.

My hubby seemed to read my mind by producing some aptly named, AMORE" red wine to go with our dinner last evening.  Although, if you're really into wine, a crisp white wine would have gone better with the lemon/thyme gnocchi.  But, hubby always chimes in with, "I just drink it for the "buzz" or results!  And I'd have to agree with him, sometimes.

On the menu for our intimate Valentine dinner was:

Amore wine
Home made rosemary sea salt heart shaped "crackers"
Assorted cheese plate with fig preserves

Entree was seared scallops on a bed of lemon thyme mascarpone hand made and rolled gnocchi
topped with roasted asparagus

It was necessary to wait for dessert because of the "bee-wah" factor.  I think you have to be a Little Rascals TV show fan to understand that!   The wait was worth it as we devoured dark chocolate covered organic strawberries.  To top a heart felt evening we watched the ultimate chic flick romantic movie of ALL time, in my opinion.  The NOTEBOOK!!  This girl really knows how to be in touch with her emotions!  I was practically bawling!!  What a baby!  All in all staying home on Valentine's Day was good for the heart and soul and even better for the wine and tissue manufacturers!

Here's the recipe for lemon/thyme mascarpone gnocchi inspired by Giada.  I only changed a few things to make it my own.

8 oz mascarpone cheese

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

the zest of 2 lemons

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp salt

Mix the above in a medium bowl with an electric beater.  Add 3/4 - 1 cup of flour.  Mix well until it forms into a ball and can be "worked" with floured hands.  At this point I wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated until I was ready to hand roll them.

To make the gnocchi:  cut a chunk from the dough (re-wrap remaining dough as you go) and roll into a long tube or cigar shape.  On a floured surface, start to cut 1/3 inch pieces.  Then I went back and using a wooden gnocchi board (I purchased one from Bed, Bath and Beyond) roll into a ball while gently pressing down creating ridges into the gnocchi.  The first few are awkwardly made, but you develop a rhythm as you make more and more.  This recipe make about 100 gnocchi.  Hooray, there's a few more meals in the freezer!  (about 25 were used for two piggy people!)

To cook, add them to gently boiling salted water.  They only take a few minutes to rise to the top.

For the sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1-2 fresh basil leaves, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large skillet on medium high heat melt the butter, add the garlic, turn off the heat and add the thyme and basil, stirring.  Scoop the gnocchi into the butter mixture, coating the gnocchi and serve immediately.  Grate a bit of Parmesan (about 1/4 cup) on top and mangia.  These will melt in your mouth, I promise!

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