Pan Fried Potato-Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients for a mushroom sauce:
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, such as cremini, hedgehog, shiitake, or oyster
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots, (about 2 large)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon white truffle oil, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil, leaves
Ingredients for a Potato Gnocchi:
4 large (about 2 pounds) Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Place unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high, and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill another large saucepan with cold water, add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. (These are for cooking and cooling the gnocchi.) Drain potatoes, and peel while still hot, holding them with a clean kitchen towel. Pass potatoes through a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with the finest disk onto a lightly floured work surface. Make a well in the center of the mound of potatoes, and sprinkle flour evenly over the potatoes. Break eggs into the well, and add the ricotta cheese , 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper and ground nutmeg. Using a fork, lightly beat eggs, and incorporate the remaining ingredients to form a dough. Knead lightly on the work surface until the dough is soft and smooth.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Divide dough into four balls, and shape each ball into a rope 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Shape the gnocchi: Hold a dinner fork in one hand, and use your index finger to hold a cut edge of a piece of gnocchi against the curved back of the tines of the fork. Press into the center of the gnocchi with your index finger to make a deep indentation. While you are pressing the piece against the tines, flip it away over the tip of the fork, allowing the gnocchi to drop to the work surface. If the gnocchi becomes sticky, dip fork and index finger into flour. The finished gnocchi will have ridges on one side and a depression on the other. At this point, gnocchi can be refrigerated on a lightly floured baking sheet for several hours before boiling and serving.
To cook gnocchi, drop half of them into the boiling water, and cook until they float to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. In a large non-stick pan, heat some olive oil. Pan-fry gnocchi until golden brown, being careful not to break them. Remove from pan and set aside.
Directoins for the Mushroom Sauce :
Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Remove stems from shiitake mushrooms, and trim stems of others. Cut all the mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices, and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add shallots, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Raise heat to medium high, add mushrooms and thyme sprigs, and cook until mushrooms begin to brown on the edges, about 4 minutes. Remove thyme, add vegetable stock, and reduce to 1 tablespoon, about 30 seconds. Add cream, salt, and pepper, cooking until cream thickens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Drop precooked gnocchi into the pot of boiling water, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. (If gnocchi are prepared in advance but not yet cooked, boil them as described in Step 4 of the Potato Gnocchi recipe.) Lift gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, and transfer to the mushroom sauce, stirring until evenly coated; cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among six plates, drizzle with truffle oil (if using), and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil leaves. Serve immediately.