2010/11/27

So I said to the Fussy Eater, "Try it, you might like it". (Gnocchi w/ Radicchio, Pine Nuts & Proscuitto)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am feeling a little "poultried out" today.  After having Thanksgiving Dinner two days in a row (once at my house and then again at my sister's), I wasn't quite mentally prepared to post any of this year's Thanksgiving recipes or about Thanksgiving...  In a few days, I may have the stamina to go there. 

After having such a good experience with this, I was really excited to see December's issue of Bon Appetit feature another gnocchi recipe.  To any one out there who might possibly have been lucky enough to have not acquired a picky eater (be it child, SO, etc.), I just need to mention the fact that it is a FLAT OUT MIRACLE when you are able to introduce a new food concept into their diet. 

The stars need to line up just so.  It has to be the right time of the month.  Right time of the day - sometimes even down to the second.  So when my #2 enjoyed that dish so much that she started requesting gnocchi, I was all over it.  (A person can only eat so much mac-n-cheese, chicken, etc...).  


I did foresee a couple of potential landmines with this dish and had to very thoughtfully determine how I was going to tiptoe around them before they exploded in my face at the dinner table...

1) It called for Pancetta.  My Fussy Eater (FE) will only eat ham in the form of bacon.  FINAL.  My diversionary tactic was to substitute Prosciutto and call it "Italian Bacon".  It did the trick.

2)  It contained pine nuts.  She won't touch anything that has obvious signs of nuts - although, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve on that end which I absolutely refuse to divulge.  I can't EVER let those out.  Here, I thought my best option was to face it head on.  I toasted them and kept them separate.  I told her what they were and asked her if she would like to try one before I added them to the dish (if she liked them, I would add them right in - if not, I would keep them on the side and let everyone add to their desire).   Turned out, she liked them, so they made it in. 

3) Final obstacle - radicchio.  I was not sure how she would react to this one, because we were entering unchartered territory.  I told her I would leave it large enough that she could pick it out if she found it too offensive.  My story was that it wouldn't make anything else taste like it...


So, with all of those measures in place, I cautiously proceeded.  The gnocchi themselves were a pretty basic potato/ flour recipe.  I do think the measurements on the potato could have been spelled out a little better.  Fortunately, I was able to make use of child labor a willing helper to cut and shape them. 



I think that frying up the prosciutto until it was crispy (like bacon) was the defining step in the dish.  I let the FE try a couple pieces of the crispy meat and the look of pure rapture on her face was a VERY GOOD SIGN. 


Once the gnocchi had been made, the rest of the dish was really rather effortless (but SHHH you don't have to give up your secrets).  If one were inclined to use pre-made gnocchi (I am not usually so inclined), this could be a simple weeknight dish. 


The garnish of parsley and Parmesan (I think I used Asiago because that was what was in the fridge) make the dish visually interesting.  Before those additions, it did have a bit of a "heavy" look to it. 

Tasting verdict: everyone really liked it with one common exception...  We all could have done without the radicchio.  The bitterness didn't flow as well with the dish as I would have hoped.  I think for any re-makes, I will have to find something else to sub in for it. 

At the end of the day, my FE went back for seconds (picking out the offending "cabbage"), so I shall chalk this one up as a very successful recipe. 

Adapted from Bon Appetit - December 2010

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup all purpose flour + additional (for sprinkling)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), coarsely chopped - I used proscuitto 
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large)
1 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced radicchio
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for passing)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Place unpeeled potatoes in large saucepan of water and bring to boil. Continue boiling until tender, 30-40 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Drain; let stand until cool enough to touch, about 10 minutes, then peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into 2-inch chunks and press through potato ricer into large bowl. Let cool. Add 1 cup flour, egg yolk, and salt; mix to blend, then transfer to floured surface and knead briefly to form dough.
 Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet with flour. Divide dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into 3/4-inch-diameter log. Cut the logs crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece along the back of a fork (or use a gnocchi board, if you have one), forming indentations along 1 side. Place gnocchi on lightly floured sheet.
Working in batches, add gnocchi to large pot of boiling salted water; cook until gnocchi float to surface, then boil until cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi a lightly floured baking sheet.
While the gnocchi are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; sauté until crisp and golden. Add shallots and garlic and sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add oil to skillet. Add radicchio, 1 tablespoon parsley and gnocchi and toss until radicchio wilts, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer gnocchi mixture to platter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, toasted pine nuts, and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

4 comments:

  1. Funny post! Since this dish has pancetta, I will definitely be trying it!

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  2. Wow, this looks so good! If I make it, I will take your advice and leave out the raddichio.

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  3. Thanks for the tip on the radicchio. I was wondering how that would fare. Love your pictures though. Even the radicchio looks divine!

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  4. Hi - the dislike of the raddichio is definitely a personal preference. I found it bitter and was not a fan - although it did add a visual and textural interest. If you like it, then I would say go for it!

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