Despite my passion for cooking foods of all kinds, there are a few things I’ve never tried to make. Simply because certain dishes, usually beloved regional specialties, require great skill, technique and time to perfect. Out of respect for those who have mastered these skills, and also a little laziness on my part, I usually only enjoy these dishes when dining out. Until recently, gnocchi was definitely on that list. Lucky for me, however, Chef Nick Morfogen of 32 East here in Delray Beach kicked off his Summer cooking class series with these iconic Italian dumplings. Over the course of the evening, he gave a whole new spin to this previously daunting dish.
The demonstration-style cooking class was held in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room. In addition to observing Chef’s mad gnocchi skills, he also shared some insider culinary tips and tricks. First, he explained that gnocchi is not really pasta. It is more of a “dumpling” since it’s made from a mixture of potatoes, eggs, flour and cheese. There are also many regional variations in Italy as well as other countries including France (gnocchis à la parisienne), Croatia (njoki) and even South America (ñoqui).
Chef also stressed the importance of using the best quality, freshest ingredients available. His favorite Parmesan cheese is the Vacche Rosse Parmigiano Reggiano. “Vacche Rosse” literally means “red cow,” and refers to the special breed of Italian cow whose milk is prized for its high butterfat and protein content. The Vacche Rosse Parmigiano is also aged for a minimum of 30 months, compared to only 24 months with other Parmesans. Chef also clarified that buffalo mozzarella is a fresh cheese made from the milk of the Italian water buffalo. And much like Italian wines, certain high quality foods including these cheeses carry a DOP classification (“Denominazione di Origine Protetta,” or “Protected Designation of Origin”) which ensures they are from a specific region and have met certain strict production criteria.
Chef also suggested baking the potatoes on a bed of salt to prevent the bottoms from burning (brilliant!). After divesting the pre-baked potatoes of their skins, he deftly worked them through a food mill. This broke them up while also imparting a light, airy texture. Either a food mill or potato ricer can be used for this task and I’m a big fan of the ricer. I’ve used mine to make heavenly mashed potatoes for many years and I especially like this one. While incorporating the flour into the potato and egg mixture a little at a time, Chef stressed the importance of not overworking the dough. This will make it tough and could possibly ruin the finished product. Once the dough has been rolled into “ropes” and cut into the classic bite-size pieces, each gnocchi must be rolled over a “gnocchi paddle.” This essential piece of equipment gives the gnocchi their hallmark, groovy appearance. At under $10, this is a worthwhile investment for the gnocchi lover.
After boiling the gnocchi in a large pot of salted water (when they float, they’re done!) our lesson was complete. We then had the pleasure of sampling Chef Nick’s Gnocchi all Sorrentina. The dish featured the freshly prepared gnocchi in a flavorful marinara sauce dusted with grated Vacche Rosse Parmigiano. It was pure heaven and we enjoyed the dish with a bottle of Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico Riserva. This Sangiovese-based red wine from Tuscany paired perfectly with the gnocchi and savory red sauce.
Inspired by Chef Nick’s class, I recently made plans to have some friends over for gnocchi. Perfecting any recipe takes time and you have to start somewhere, right? I’ll also have lots of Chianti on hand just in case.
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One of my favorite things about the winter months is enjoying all the cozy, comforting food and wine that warms you up from the inside out. These hearty, flavorful pairings just aren’t the same when enjoyed any other time of year. Our latest Wine Pairing of the Week was inspired by a delightful Italian wine, the 2006 Masciarelli Villa Gemma Montepulciano... Read More
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With Snowmageddon inflicting some pretty miserable weather on us this Winter, it seems like the perfect time to hunker down at home and enjoy some fabulous food and wine! Our “Perfect Pairings” segment explores the delicious depths of flavor and highlights combinations that synergize beautifully together. There’s nothing like discovering a “1+1=3” combination that really make your palate sing! And why should that experience only be enjoyed at a... Read More
The post “Perfect Pairings”: Crispy Chicken Thighs with Bacony Spinach & Escarole Paired with 2 Perfect Wines! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
A few days ago I featured these delicious sparkling wines on WPTV’s Holiday Show but due to time constraints we shortened the segment and I didn’t want you to miss out on these fabulous finds! While these sparklers are indeed perfect for ringing in the New Year, at these price points they are also perfect for enjoying during the week. If you make one vinous... Read More
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“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; my hunger for her explains everything I’ve done. To howl at the moon the whole night through; and they really don’t care if I do. I’d go out of my mind, but for you.” – Sting, Sister Moon Oenology. Philanthropy. History. Music. These elements harmoniously converge at Il Palagio, the idyllic Tuscan estate of husband... Read More
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This Throwback Thursday photo comes from a trip we took to Italy for our second wedding anniversary. We spent two weeks traveling through some of Italy’s beloved, historical regions and sampled alot of great wine along the way. One morning in Florence I woke up early, a factor of the time change definitely NOT my normal inclination, and was rewarded with this view... Read More
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Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I’m sure you’ll be treating Mom to a feast fit for a Queen! If you’re looking for the perfect wine pairing for your festivities here’s 5 Fabulous Wine Recommendations from some of our favorite “Women of the Vine”: GIFFT Pinot Noir Rosé, Monterey, California, 2014 ($16): This wine is the newest addition to Kathie... Read More
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