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Barley gnocchi with watercress sauce


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  • 1 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) pearled barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound watercress
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 ea shallots minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ea scallions, white and green part, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 About 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 cups defatted chicken or vegetable stock



Step 1

(4 servings)
In a small saucepan, combine the barley. 3½ cups water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer until liquid has absorbed, about an hour. Uncover and let the barley cool. You will have 3
Meanwhile to make the sauce, discard the tough stems from the watercress and basil and rip them into tiny pieces. Do not chop with a knife or in a processor because they could turn brown around the edges. Scoop them into a 9-inch glass pie dish and add the shallots, oil and butter. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on full power until the greens have wilted, about 1½ minutes. Remove the sauce to a dish and keep it warm.
To make the gnocchi, scoop the barley (remove and discard the bay leaf), scallions, oregano, parsley and flour into a processor and whiz until a ball of dough is formed, about 10 seconds. Then wet your hands and shape the dough into firm, walnut- sized balls; you will have about 20.

Meanwhile pour the stock into a 9-inch glass pie dish, cover with a plate and heat for a couple of minutes to get the chill off. When the gnocchi are ready, set them into the dish, cover again and microwave on full power until they are heated though and slightly shiny, about 3 minutes. Do not over-microwave or the gnocchi will fall apart.
When the gnocchi are ready, immediately remove them from the stock and arrange them in 4 shallow bowls. Scoop on some sauce and swirl the gnocchi around so they are coated. Serve warm as an appetizer or first course.
Per serving: 301 calories, 9 gm protein, 48 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 3 gm saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 415 mg sodium.

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