Saturday, April 3, 2010

I say Tomato, You Say Toe-ma-toe

I went to the grocery store this morning after Emma, Holly Bear's trainer left. We just love Emma, she is the female equivalent to Caesar, the dog whisperer. Holly Bear needed a nap after her training session, so it was the perfect time for me to see what was new in the produce aisle.

Now, I try not to go to the grocery store with a menu in mind, rather, I try to let the grocery store plan my menu. Today's good find were fine, fresh, English peas. English peas reminded me of a Tyler Florence recipe for Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto and Ricotta.

TBHITW and I originally hail from different parts of the country. He comes from Michigan with a stop in New Orleans for a few years before settling in the Northeast. Me, I come from Pennsylvania with a stop in Orlando, Florida before arriving here in New Jersey.

This difference in our origins leads to different pronunciations of certain words. For instance, he says crik when referring to a small stream (creek), I say creak. He says ruff for roof, I pronounce it, well, roof. You get the idea. We usually agree to disagree, except in the case of Gnocchi. I say, Knee-owe-kee, he says No-key. Sometimes, just to really get my goat, he says Knock-key, insisting that both are correct. He is an annoying man sometimes.

If anyone out there has the absolute correct pronunciation of these little pillows, keep it to yourself. Unless of course it is Knee-owe-kee.

Potato Gnocchi with Peas, Prosciutto and Ricotta - serves 4

2 pounds (about 4) russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
a few fresh gratings nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 egg white
1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen and thawed) peas
1/4 pound prosciutto
1 large shallot, finely diced
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
grated parmesan
2 cups Lemon Ricotta (recipe follows)
bunch watercress

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub, dry, pierce, oil and salt potatoes. Bake to 45 to 60 minutes until knife easily pierces. Cool slightly. Scoop potatoes out of skins, mash with hand masher or put through ricer. Add salt, nutmeg, baking powder, grated cheese and egg white. Add flour a little at a time, starting with one cup. Mix with your hands until a rough dough forms. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Gently knead until smooth, adding a little more dough to keep from sticking.

Break off a piece of dough, roll back an forth into a rope about the thickness of your index finger. Cut the rope into 1 inch pieces. Gently roll each piece down the prongs of a fork while pressing a dimple into the back side of gnocchi. This will form ridges that will hold the sauce. Place on a floured cookie sheet. Continue rolling and cutting until done. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. You can also buy store bought Gnocchi.

Meanwhile, make the lemon ricotta:
2 cups whole milk ricotta
zest of one lemon
Mix it all up and set aside until ready to cook gnocchi. This should be close to room temperature for plating. If you make it in advance, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking gnocchi.

Blanch peas in boiling, salted water. Set aside. Reserve salted water for cooking gnocchi
Bake 4 pieces of prosciutto in 350 oven for 5-8 minutes until crisp. Watch carefully. Set aside.

Dice shallot and saute in olive oil in large saute pan until soft and translucent. Add drained peas and toss to coat.

Cook gnocchi in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes after they begin to float. Transfer by slotted spoon into pan with peas. Add a ladle of cooking water. Add 1 Tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a dollop of lemon ricotta in center of plate. Top with peas and gnocchi. Top with small handful of fresh watercress. Top with 1 piece crumbled prosciutto. Optional: drizzle with a scant half of thimble full of white truffle oil.

Now put down the Websters Dictionary and enjoy your meal.


  1. I like the sounds of this one! I just noticed your widget on the left sidebar counting all your visitors! Wow! 633 visitors from all over the world! Go girl!

  2. Sounds tasty, healthy, and all around good!

  3. This is great + you have a beautiful German Shepherd.

  4. My husband, hailing from Montana says "crik" for creek and "aaant" for aunt (ant).

    The recipe looks wonderful. Yum.

  5. Cousin B - tracking where my readers are coming from is fun! Like having pen pals all over the world.

    Buffalo - I love this recipe - it is well worth the effort.

    Jeve - Can you believe she is only 5 months old in this picture? She's a lot bigger now - but still a pretty girl.

    Nancy - Now that's funny, I say Ant and TBHITW says AUUNT. Like I said, Tomato - tomahtoh

  6. I had always heard "no-key", but perhaps that's just a Boston Italian regionalism :-)


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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