Basil Gnocchi: linguistic nightmare, culinary challenge

Gnocchi may one of the most commonly mispronounced words. I’m not phonetic genius, but I’ve heard my fair share of butchered pronunciations of the gourmet potato spuds: thrice today alone.

Making gnocchi is a little bit like creating magic. The conditions must be just right, the chef must be innovative, and finishing touches are key.

CONDITIONS. First off, you’ll need fresh basil. Bonus points if it’s from your herb garden. Secondly, dough-making requires time and patience, and begs for a little TLC in the forms of cooling, shaping and boiling. Lastly, a lively sous chef is always a bonus. You may borrow our recipe, but you cannot borrow my culinary partner in crime, Nick. Sorry.

INNOVATION. The zenith of gnocchi-making is well past the mashing, assuming you’re not in the gnocchi-making business for anger management. It’s when your formerly sunken balls of potato-nuggets become buoyant, signifying they’re done. Though our gnocchi floated, it seemed a tad too mushy, so we took a gamble and seared it in heated olive oil. It produced a crispy texture to the outer shell; not traditional for gnocchi, but tweak both of us (and our dinner guests) appreciated.

FINISHING TOUCHES. We topped our homemade gnocchi with asiago cheese and homemade basil salt, along with a homemade sauce.

Just Peachy Tomato Sauce

1 – Saute half a small onion in olive oil.

2 – Add six small chopped roma tomatoes and two chopped peaches.

3 – Season with chipotle red pepper flakes (to taste – the more you add, the spicier the sauce), 1 teaspoon ginger, 2 tablespoons garlic, 3 tablespoons fresh basil and a teaspoon of oregano.

4 – Add a creamy cheese, such as goat or cream cheese. Stir until melted.

For the gnocchi, we used this recipe, substituting whole wheat flour.

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