Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Home-made Gnocchi with Home-made Marinara Sauce 1/26/10

Happy Birthday to me!
I'm not cooking tonight...

For those nights when I'm just not going to cook, I always try to have instant dinners stored in the freezer.

Tonight is one of those nights!

A really fun (seriously!) weekend project is making home-made gnocchi. Preparing the dough is actually very fast, it just takes a while to shape the pasta. But this is soooooooo easy to do, you can get spouses and kids involved! This can be a fun and productive way to spend time together as a family.

$0.55 per portion: Gnocchi and Marinara combined (vegetarian)

I use Lidia Bastianich's gnocchi recipe, and I wouldn't dare alter it. For that reason I am giving you the link direct to her site.

This is a vegetarian dough, but as it contains egg and flour I do not have a vegan or gluten-free option for tonight. Sorry!

The cost per person for home-made, organic gnocchi is probably about $0.30!

If you are going to take the time to make this recipe, do yourself a favor and make a triple batch. You can freeze in dinner-sized batches so you make a few meals ahead at once!

I garnished with a dollop of Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Basil, steamed chard is on the side with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Here is a really good hint: First freeze the gnocchi in a single layer on a cookie sheet (about 15 minutes per batch). After the gnocchi are individually frozen, then scoop them together into Tupperware or Ziploc freezer bags and put back in the freezer. If you don't freeze in a single layer first you get a gloopy mess when you cook them later. This freezing trick works great for berries, too!

To cook when frozen or fresh: Drop gnocchi into a pot of water at a rolling boil. When the gnocchi float to the top, they are done: it takes about 1-2 minutes. Do not thaw gnocchi, cook immediately from a fresh or frozen state only. Do not overcrowd the pot, either.

Here is the recipe for Lidia's Home-made sauce (or gravy, if you prefer):

Marinara Sauce 1/26/10

Makes about 1 quart, enough to dress 6 servings of pasta.

$0.25 per serving: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • One 35-ounce can crushed Italian plum tomatoes (San Marzano, if possible)

  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled

  • Salt to taste

  • Crushed red pepper to taste

  • 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Whack the garlic with the flat side of the knife, add it to the oil, and cook until lightly browned on both sides (about 2 minutes).

Carefully slide the tomatoes and their liquid into the oil. Bring to a boil and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer and cook, breaking-up the tomatoes/garlic with a whisk or a spoon, until the sauce is chunky and thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil about 5 minutes before the sauce is finished. Taste the sauce and season again (to taste) with salt and red pepper if necessary.

NOTES: It does not take any longer to cook a triple batch than it does to cook a single batch, so I ALWAYS triple the recipe. Then I freeze the extra sauce into 2-cup portions in the freezer. It freezes beautifully. In the summer, you can use fresh tomatoes but any other time of year use the canned for best flavor.

HELPFUL HINT: Where I live, Costco sells #10 cans of crushed and diced tomatoes for about $3 each. This is the main reason I only make triple batches, because then the sauce costs $1.00 per batch, or $0.25 cents per serving!

Both Recipes are from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen, by Lidia Bastianich. Gnocchi is page 170, Marinara is page 150.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandi!

    We just made this sauce. In addition, we cut 1 onion and cooked it with the garlic. We then also cut two broccoli florets and boiled them for 2 minutes. Since we didn't have a 35 oz can of tomatoes, we used a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Instead of fresh basil, we just added lots of dried Italian seasoning and dried basil while the sauce simmered. While the sauce cooked, we boiled the pasta. After the sauce was done, we added the blanched broccoli and two wedged Roma tomatoes and removed from heat. We also did not add red pepper as we are not fans of spicy food. Quite tasty!