Sunday was supposed to be Family Movie Night, but the kids collectively decided they’d rather play one more level of Batman Lego Wii than watch the movie. Looking back, we probably shouldn’t have provided that option.
But I had already planned a nice dinner for the evening, so I went ahead and made it. I jettisoned the dessert, though, and will probably make it later this week.
One of my favorite chefs is Jamie Oliver. He’s brilliantly British, with his easy peasies and bits and bobs and whahz it ups. I loved his show Jamie At Home, which featured him picking fresh ingredients from his garden and cooking them up into amazing dishes. Probably my favorite episode was Mushrooms, where he went into the forest to forage for mushrooms with Gennaro Contaldo, who is apparently the expert on wild mushrooms in the U.K. They found gorgeous mushrooms and cooked them up right there in the middle of the forest and made a Mushroom Bruschetta that looked orgasmic.
What does this all have to do with Family Movie Night? Nothing, really, I’m just rambling. Well, kind of. I was at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning, and there’s a new vendor there: LAFunghi. They aren’t a new vendor in the general sense, but they are new to my market, so I was intrigued. They have the most exotic mushrooms. Check it:
How can you pass up Hedge Hogs, Blue Foot, Persimmon Noki, or Bunashineji?
So I bought a basket– one of those $15 jobs in the front that has a nice mix of mushrooms. And I decided to make Jamie’s Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage from his Cook With Jamie book.
This required, of course, making my own gnocchi. Gnocchi is my favorite pasta ever, and if you’ve never had it, you are MISSING OUT.
What I discovered, though, is in the title of this post: I really need a potato ricer. Or at least, I needed one for five minutes on Sunday afternoon. I used a plain hand-held masher to smash my potatoes up, and it really didn’t cut the mustard. Or the potatoes. So I ended up with chunky gnocchi which, as far as I know, is not a thing.
lumpy gnocchi dough
log of gnocchi dough-- you can see the little potato chunks
once you've rolled the log, you cut the gnocchi into little pillows
gnocchi ready for boiling
Once I had made the gnocchi, I started in on the mushroom sauce / topping. It basically consists of frying up some mushrooms and adding garlic. I didn’t add the sage because I wasn’t sure the kids would go for it, but I did add spinach to round out the dish.
Look at those beauts. And when they were sautéd, they were golden perfection.
All cooked up and mixed together, we got this:
It was kind of delish. I adapted Jamie’s recipe a bit to make the gnocchi whole wheat and to change up the mushroom thing a bit.
Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach
for the gnocchi
- 6 medium potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 to 1 cup white whole wheat flour
Wash and peel your potatoes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your potatoes and boil until they are fork tender (the boiling time will depend on the size of your potatoes; mine took about 15 minutes). Drain and mash the potatoes while they are still hot. Add the butter and mix as it melts. (If you have a potato ricer, you can run them through the ricer instead of mashing them.) Allow your potatoes to cool slightly.
To the mashed potatoes add salt and pepper to taste and the egg yolk. Once the egg is well-combined with the potatoes, add the flour a little at a time. Start with 1/4 cup, and keep adding until you have a dough that is dry but not crumbly (it shouldn’t stick to your hands).
Divide the dough into 3 sections and roll each one out into a long tube about 1″ in diameter. Cut each tube into 1/2 – 1″ pieces. Sprinkle them with flour to prevent sticking. Place them on a flour-covered cookie sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
When you are ready to cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add the gnocchi and cook until it floats to the top, about 4 minutes. Strain and mix with mushroom sauce.
for the wild mushrooms and spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz (or more) wild mushrooms, mixed
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach (or more)
- Parmesan cheese
Clean the mushrooms by brushing them off, and cut them into large, 1″ chunks. Heat a sauté pan on medium high. When it’s hot, add the olive oil and then mushrooms. Toss them gently for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the garlic, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. When the garlic is slightly golden, add 1/2 cup of water and cook on medium for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the water has reduced. Add your spinach and toss until just wilted. Remove from heat and mix with gnocchi. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top to taste.