Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gnocchi with Buttered Cranberry Pesto Sauce

This was totally experimental, and it happened to be one that turned out pretty good. If you don't know what gnocchis are, they're they dumpling like things in the picture. It's actually a kind of pasta made mostly of potato and kneaded with flour to hold the dough together before being shaped into the little lumps that you see. So far, I've only seen them at Carrefour, but I'm sure there probably are other specialty pasta shops that sell them.

This is a very simple dish. I'm not a chef, so only the simple culinary excursions do not elude me. The ingredients you need to make this are

Gnocchi - can be bought from Carrefour. Comes in sealed plastic packs.

Dried Cranberries - ok I cheated, would have been juicier if I used the fresh ones. Dried is actually not bad as well.

Pesto - jarred, easily available in supermarket. This one's from Carrefour.

Butter.

Olive Oil - in case your sauce dries up too much when you're cooking.

The trick is to cook both at once. My brother helped me so I cheated again. In 2 main steps
1) For the gnocchi, the preparation is fairly simple. Bring water to a boil in a pot and add salt. After that you can add the gnocchi. The gnocchis cook pretty fast, say in a minute or two, so as soon as they float, scoop them out onto a dish somewhere. If you let them in the water too long, they will disintergate as the flour that holds them gets dissolved in the boiling water.

2) For the sauce, pan fry the dried cranberries into a pre-heated pan with butter. Press the cranberries so that they open up as much as possible for the flavour to seep into the mixture. In this serving for 2, I used about a palmful of dried cranberries so you can estimate the portions to your preference. Keep the butter plentiful enough so that the cranberries do not char. After a minute and a half, add in the pesto and continue the stir for another minute or slightly longer. If the mixture starts to dry, add olive oil. Once everything is nice and bubbly, scoop the sauce onto the gnocchi.

Do not underestimate the small portions. These lumps are quite filling. And they're easy to eat since the sauce is quite appetising and light. And there's totally no meat, so vegetarians are free to try.

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