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Deliciously Organic: Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu

As I shared, last week was a busy one. When the weekend finally arrived, Pete and I looked at each other and agreed to aim for a slow-paced weekend. Relaxing for me means opening a bottle of wine and piddling in the kitchen for hours on end. For Pete, it's watching football. Our new favorite team is Florida State. My brother is one of the coaches, so it's exciting to see him on TV each weekend. Saturday afternoon, the football was on, the kids were doing crafts of different sorts, and I opened some wine and decided to make gnocchi with wild mushroom ragu.

Gnocchi isn't complicated, but it isn't exactly a weeknight dish either. It involves baking potatoes until tender, scooping out the insides and combining them with arrowroot, egg, cheese, a little flour and salt. I love to knead this "dough". It's soft and supple and extremely comforting. The dough is rolled out into ropes, cut and boiled for about 1 minute. The resulting little pillows of fluffiness happily float to the top of the pot. They can be eaten with a simple sprinkling of sea salt and cheese or you can take things up a notch and serve them with a meaty sauce or ragu. I love this ragu because it's woodsy from the mushrooms and a has a kick of spice from the chipotle. I had leftovers of the sauce and it was fantastic served over linguine. 

Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu
It's best to get the potatoes in the oven before cooking the ragu. When the ragu is finished, simply put the lid on and keep warm until the gnocchi is ready. Chipotle in adobo comes in a small can at the grocery store. Since you only use one chipotle in this recipe you can freeze the rest to use at a later time (I prefer to freeze them in an ice cube try.)

Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 pounds wild mushrooms, stemmed and diced large
1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 whole chipotle in adobo, chopped (if you prefer a less spicy ragu only use half a chipotle, or simply omit it)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup cream

1 recipe gnocchi
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Reduce the heat to low, cover pot and allow vegetables to sweat for 20 minutes. Remove lid and add half of the wild mushrooms and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining wild mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the coriander and fennel seeds. Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then stir spices into the mushroom mixture. Stir in the chipotle and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 cups of water, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Serve over gnocchi.

Potato Gnocchi

3 large baking potatoes, about 2 pounds, scrubbed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot
6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375°F and adjust rack to middle position. Place potatoes in oven and bake for about 1 hour until a knife can be inserted without resistance. Cool potatoes.

Cut the cooled potatoes in half, scoop out flesh, and put in a large bowl. Discard the skins (I baked them in the oven with a little butter and salt until crispy - a great snack!).  Press the potato through a ricer into a large bowl. Add the arrowroot, flour, cheese, salt and egg to potatoes and stir until combined. Knead the mixture with your hands until it forms a soft dough. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and also fill a large bowl with ice water. Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each piece into a long rope about 1-inch thick. Cut the rope into 1 1/2-inch long pieces. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. Add 1/2 of gnocchi pieces to boiling water and cook until the dough rises to the top, about 45 seconds. Immediately remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place into a large bowl. Pour ragu over top and serve immediately.


Blogger Maria said...

Homemade gnocchi is my favorite meal! Love the wild mushroom ragu!

September 21, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

This looks so delicious. I have some ravioli to make tonight and am looking for a sauce. I like the thoughts of wild mushroom ragu!

September 21, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Marisa said...

Looks & sounds amazing! You're making me very hungry right now.

September 21, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Now that I've fully accepted that we aren't getting a summer in LA and it's just going to be one long fall, I think this is just the time to start making risotto.

Beautiful photos and a wonderful snapshot of a lazy weekend at your home. PS, how cool your brother is a coach!

September 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Brooke: I agree, it never really felt like summer...I'm not complaining though!

I'm so proud of my brother! It's also nice that I have a personal trainer on my speed-dial whenever I need him. :)

September 21, 2010 at 12:43 PM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Your family always has so much cool stuff going on. I bet it is fun to watch your brother coach on TV! These pillowy Gnocchi look elegant and scrumptious. Mushroom ragu is a favorite of mine. I could top most of my meals with a warm ragu like this. xo

September 21, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Dori said...

Oddly enough, we made gnocchi on Sunday. Yummy : ) The recipe we used called for boiling the you think that baking them is better? Can't wait to try this ragu : )

September 21, 2010 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Deliciously Organic said...

Dori: I've tried it both ways and really like the baked potatoes best.

September 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM  

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