Gnocchi alla Parmigiano
- 2-3 Large Baking Potatoes (Approx 2 cups)
- Flour (1 Cup) (Plus more for dusting the counter top and baking sheet)
- 4 Egg Yolks
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (1 Cup)
- Fresh Ground Nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
- Kosher Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- Fresh Cracked Pepper (1/4 teaspoon) (Approx 10 turns)
- Parmigiano Tomato Sauce
- Olive Oil (2 Tablespoons)
- Pancetta (1 thick piece, cut 1/2 inch thick) (Approx. 1/4 pound)
- Basic Tomato Sauce (3 Cups) (Click here for the recipe)
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (2 Cups) (Finely Grated)
- Heavy Cream (1/3 Cup)
- Fresh Chopped Basil (Approx 1/4 Cup)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pierce the potatoes with a fork 6-9 times and put into the oven directly on the rack. Bake for 45 min -- 1 hour, until almost overcooked. Using an oven mitt squeeze the potatoes, they should be very soft. When done, place on a plate to cool.
When the potatoes are room temperature, cut them in half length wise. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes using a spoon, making sure not to get any peel with it. Place ½ the potatoes in a Potato Ricer (found at any kitchen store) and press down, letting the pressed potatoes fall directly onto a floured counter top. Repeat with the remainder of the potatoes until they have all been passed through the potato ricer.
Make a hole in the center of the pile of riced potatoes, creating a well. Inside the center of the well, add the egg yolks, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parmigiano reggiano. With your fingers begin mixing the ingredients in the center. Add 1/3 of the flour while mixing with your fingers and gradually start pulling in some of the potatoes from the side of the well. Add 1/3 more of the flour and continue pulling in the sides of the potatoes. Finally, add the rest of the flour and begin to press the mixture and it will gradually begin to combine together. Scrape what is sticking to your fingers and add back into the mixture. Continue to gently work the dough until the flour is incorporated and is able to be formed into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough, as it will become heavy and glutinous. Put the ball of dough into a lightly floured bowl with a damp cloth on top and set aside on the counter for about a half hour.
Thoroughly dust the counter top with flour, place the dough ball on the counter and cut into fourths. One piece at a time, begin to roll the dough back in forth in your hand. Then place on the counter and continue to gently roll back and forth, starting from the center and working outward. Work it back and forth until it takes the shape of a thin rope, about the thickness of a permanent marker. Cut the rope of dough into 1 inch pieces and pinch the ends in, making the shape of a little mini pillow. Place on to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, dusted with flour. Continue until all the gnocchi is rolled and cut, making sure to form any excess trimmings into another rope to utilize all the dough. Place the baking sheet of gnocchi in a cool area under any kind of fan to dry. After an hour flip each piece of gnocchi to dry on the other side and let sit another hour.
Parmigiano Tomato Sauce
Finely chop the Pancetta into little bits. Drizzle the olive oil into a large skillet or sauce pot on medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned and the fat has rendered. Reduce heat to medium and remove the pancetta bits using a slotted spoon. Add the tomato sauce to the pan and gradually whisk in the parmigiano reggiano until fully incorporated. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the heavy cream.
Boil Approximately 6 quarts of water and a heavy pinch of salt to the water. Drop in the gnocchi by lifting the corners of the wax paper and sliding into the water. Don't worry about excess the excess flour getting into the water. Stir the gnocchi and cook approximately 3-4 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the top.
Remove the gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon and put directly into the sauce. Stir in the gnocchi and let it cook in the sauce for about a minute. Pour into a serving dish and top off with more grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh chopped basil and pancetta.