The challenge was like this: my brother in law had some “porcón” dried mushrooms (http://www.granjaporcon.org.pe/granjaporcon/es/) which come from Cajamarca, a zone at the north of Perú. He wanted me to make a dish with them BADLY and so I thought of making gnocchi. Dried mushrooms, wether they are these, porcini, shitake or most of them, really, acquire a stronger taste that’s very similar to meat. Also, they all require to be hydrated before eating or it’s like chewing on cardboard. This gnocchi recipe doesn’t need to be just for this sauce, you can apply anything on top and hey will still be nice, light and fluffy.
For the gnocchi:
– 500g white potato (use a dry one, usually the ones prefered for purée)
– 1 egg
– 1/2 tbsp salt
– 110g flour + more if needed
– pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
For the sauce:
– 100g carrot
– 100g green onion
– 100g celery
– 2 dried or fresh bayleaf
– 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
– 2 garlic cloves
– 50g dried mushrooms
– 120g oyster mushrooms
– 120g cremini mushrooms
– 40ml olive oil
– 400g whipping cream
– salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the potatoes. This probably the most important part in the process of making gnocchi. The more moisture the potato has once cooked, will mean we need to add more flour and thus making them thicker, which we want to avoid. Therefore, we’re going to cook them in the oven and not in boiling water, with multiple stabs of a fork to help release the steam. I cooked mine at 200C for 1.5 hours on a tray lined with baking paper, but this time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, so cook them until a knife goes through extremely easily.
2. Peel the potatoes as soon as you can handle them (if they get completely cold it gets harder to press), and press them. If you have a potato ricer, great and do it 3 times so no lumps remain. If you hace a potato press (like me), press them and then pass it through a drum sieve or metal sieve to ensure no lumps remain. Even if you have a ricer you might want to do this process just to be sure. Again, it’s much easier if they are still hot.
3. Add the egg and mix completely. Then add the flour, salt and nutmeg, and mix with a spatula briefly just to make it into one mass, and then mix using your hands. Here you will assess if you need more flour (I didn’t). It shouldn’t be sticky but not super dry either.
4. Make rolls out of it and then cut into same size pieces. Roll them into a ball and use a gnocchi press or a fork to make dents on the gnocchi by rolling them along.
5. Keep them on a floured baking sheet and flour them on top also. Don’t stick them to each other or they become siamese twins and you’ll ruin the shape by pulling them apart. At this point you can freeze these for another time 🙂
6. Now for the sauce, we’ll start with a vegetable stock. Roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery into small pieces. Put into a pot with the bayleaves and rosemary sprigs and fill with 1L of water. Put on low heat and count 30min from the time it starts to simmer.
7. Pass through a colander and dispose of the vegetables and herbs. Cut the dried mushrooms into bite sizes and hydrate them using the really hot stock. They need about 5-10min to hydrate, which is about the time it takes to prepare the rest of the recipe.
8. Cut the cremini mushrooms in thin slices and the oyster mushrooms into small bite sizes, removing the tough stalks where necessary. Cook them in olive oil with the crushed garlic cloves until fully cooked, then remove the garlic. Then put on a pot or deep pan with the vegetable stock and dried mushrooms.
9. Boil this until it has reduced no nearly nothing.
10. Add the cream and boil gently until it coats nicely the back of a wooden spoon
11. Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salty boiling water. Take the out as they float to the surface.
12. Serve with the hot sauce on top with shavings of parmesan cheese (I made them with a peeler) or grated parmesan 🙂
I hope you like this recipe, it was definitely a crowd pleaser when I made it. -the smell of the dried mushrooms cooking on the stove will drive you crazy!