Once more with broccoli – yet another version of gnocchi
Different vegetables age and decay at different rates. Potatoes can last seemingly forever, while fresh spinach lasts maybe a week. It was this vegetable decay-rate which spawned version number four of gnocchi. According to my dad, I needed to use my older broccoli before my newer kale. After a few suggested recipes which I shot down, I asked if he you scan and email me the recipe for broccoli gnocchi. Broccoli gnocchi is one of my favorite foods of all times, and I’ve only ever had it when my mother makes it – so it seemed high time I learned to make it myself. The recipe itself comes from the Fresh From France cookbook – one of the first my parents bought when vegetarianism was more difficult and way less mainstream and good cookbooks were hard to find (ie the late 70s and early 80s).
1/2 – 1 bunch of broccoli
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
Boil the broccoli until tender. Run it under cold water to stop the cooking process, and then puree. If you don’t have a blender or a food processor, then just mash it using the end of a rolling pin (totally works). Combine milk and butter in a saucepan. Heat on low until the butter melts, then bring it to a boil for about 30 second. Add the flour and mix it in until smooth. Once it’s cooled a bit, add the egg. This is the hardest part, because the egg doesn’t want to get mashed in but just keep at it and be patient and it will be fine. Add the broccoli puree and mash everything together. Shape into little oval-pillows and stick in a baking pan with a little space in between each gnocchi. Cover and bake for 15 minutes at 375. While its baking you make the sauce.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
l cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix until its totally combined. Add the milk raise the heat to medium. Stir pretty much constantly to avoid lumps or sticking until it has thickened. Add the cheese, parsley, salt, nutmeg and pepper to taste. Spoon the completed sauce over the gnocchi and stick it back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes. If you want, you can then finish the dish by sticking it in the broiler for a couple minutes. Serve warm.
Like I said, this is one of my favorite dishes, so its not exactly a surprise when I say I loved it. It didn’t turn out quite as good as my mom’s but that will come with time and practice. This is a very fun and different way to serve broccoli, and its definitely not something you will see very often, despite being delicious. I served this with a lighter red wine. I think of it as a fall dish, I I go for reds, but not super heavy ones. Song of the week: Not a song per se actually but a song/comedy routine by one of my favorite duos – the Smothers Brothers. They were mostly popular in the 1960s, and had a variety show – but it was cancelled for being too subversive (ie. liberal and anti-war). Still funny after all these years though.