Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mint gnocchi with lamb meatballs

About a week ago, Andre (my roommate) and Katherine (my neighbor) helped me put this dinner together.

This dish was sort of inspired by an episode of Top Chef that aired a few weeks back. To kick off the new season, a teams from season 1 and season 2 faced off in a challenge. One of the season 1 contestants made mint gnocchi with duck meatballs. I had never heard of mint gnocchi before, but I thought it sounded interesting and wanted to try pairing it with lamb instead. I guess you could say it was an attempt at Italian/Middle Eastern fusion food.

Making the dish was pretty straight forward. To make the gnocchi, boil and peel some potatoes and pass them through a ricer, a foodmill, or, if you don't have any of these, just mash them. Make a mound with the potatoes, add some flour, an egg, and a whole bunch of chopped mint. mix together, adding flour until you get the right consistency. I just add flour until the dough stops being sticky. Knead the dough for a little, let it rest, roll it out into cylinders and cut the gnocchi, like Andre is doing below.
While you are making the gnocchi, you should be bringing a very large pot of salty, salty water to a rapid boil. Then flick the gnocchi off a gnocchi board or fork. You can also just pinch them to make a little groove. The point is to help the sauce stick to the gnocchi a little better.

The gnocchi will sink down and float to the top when it is done.

The meatballs are also not that different from the standard italian recipe. Instead of the veal/pork/beef mix and parsley, I used lamb and mint. Other ingredients include bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and finely chopped shallots. Cook the meatballs in batches in a really really hot pan. Don't add to many at once, otherwise the pan will cool down and you won't get a good sear. Patience, or a really high powered burner, is key to good cooking.

After the two main components were done, I tossed them together in a pan with a few splashes of demiglace and a little bit of tomato sauce (San Marzano tomatoes, finely chopped onion, finely diced carrots, and a couple minced garlic cloves simmered together for a while).

Bon appetite.

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