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Gnocchi for a Birthday Party!

Homemade potato gnocchi with a simple red sauce in an antique china bowl, garnished with chopped chives.We celebrated my husband’s birthday last Sunday. The kids (our boys and their girlfriends) wanted to do an all day cook-a–thon again and my husband was delighted. As we did last year, we all made a different course while some of us created several dishes. Of course the food was great. With so much love and care going in to it, why wouldn’t it be! My boys are getting to be better cooks than me. And they correct me all the time on things. (I think I raised monsters.) But truly, the best part of this day, this party, is being all together, working in the kitchen and the banter that goes on. I LOVE it! My two courses were a pasta course and dessert. I made homemade gnocchi with a simple red sauce and pecan pie with whipped cream, which was Steve’s request.

Here’s a photo gallery of our afternoon and evening of celebration food.

Black olive tapenade with whole wheat Finn-crisp crackers.

Black olive tapenade with whole wheat Finn-crisp crackers

Chicken liver pate with toast.

Chicken liver pate with toast

Baby spinach salad with carrots and ginger miso dressing.

Baby spinach salad with carrots and ginger miso dressing

The birthday dinner table with the spinach salad.

The birthday dinner table with the spinach salad

Homemade potato gnocchi with a simple red sauce in an antique china bowl, garnished with chopped chives.

Potato gnocchi with a red sauce

Beef Wellington made with LOVE with a heart.

The main course – Beef Wellington made with LOVE with a heart

The main course plate - Beef Wellington, wilted escarole with a warm Balsamic dressing and crispy Yukon Gold potatoes.

The main course plate – Beef Wellington, wilted escarole with a warm Balsamic dressing and crispy Yukon Gold potatoes

Pecan pie, whipped cream and an amazing chocolate chip cookie topped with a little salt.

Pecan pie, (made with raw agave syrup instead of corn syrup) whipped cream and an amazing chocolate chip cookie topped with a little sea salt

And I really want to share this gnocchi recipe from Grace Parisi at Food and Wine magazine. This is the second time I have made this and it is so good and oh so very light. They came out like little delicate pillows. Two of the kids raced to the kitchen for seconds, of which there was little. This is really easy to make too. So give it a go and impress everyone. I served this with a simple red sauce with garlic, shallots and a couple of anchovies and garnished the dish with some fresh chopped chives. Basil or parsley would have been better but I already had some chives washed, dried and snipped so in they went. Serve with Parmesan or Romano cheese to grate fresh on top.

POTATO GNOCCHI – adapted from Grace Parisi at Food and Wine magazine – serves 6 as a first course

2 lbs. baking potatoes (about 4)
2 large egg yolks
Salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tbs. unsalted butter (optional) or a simple red sauce

Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the potatoes in 4 places with a fork. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until tender.

Halve the potatoes. Scoop the flesh into a ricer and rice the potatoes into a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the 1/2 cup of flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead the dough gently until smooth but slightly sticky.Homemade gnocchi being rolled out.
Homemade gnocchi being made - delicate little pillows.

Line a baking sheet or platter with wax paper and dust with flour. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 4 pieces, rolling each into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges; transfer to the baking sheet or platter.Homemade gnocchi ready to cook on a platter.

In a large, deep pot of simmering salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then simmer for 2 minutes longer. Make a simple red sauce in a skillet and using a slotted spoon, add the gnocchi. Fold to coat all of them in the sauce. Serve immediately garnished with chopped chives and pass Parmesan or Romano to freshly grate on top.

Alternatively, in a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Using a slotted spoon, add the gnocchi to the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, then transferred to a re-sealable plastic bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting.

TIP: Save the baked potato shells. You can top them with a little grated cheese and warm up them to make a great little hors d’oeuvres on another evening or I like to warm a half up in the morning and put an over-easy egg on top for breakfast – delicious!!

One very happy birthday boy.

One very happy birthday boy!

 

 

 

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  1. says

    What a gorgeous dinner party – a very Happy Birthday to your husband! Such a wonderful idea to have each family member prepare a course for the meal.
    I’ve never made gnocchi before, but I really must give it a try, especially now I’ve got your recipe and tips to work with! Cheers, Margot
    Margot recently posted…Watermelon Feta and Olive SaladMy Profile

    • says

      Margot – thank you for your birthday wishes for Steve. And you really should give the gnocchi a try as the results are so worth it and unlike any store bought or even restaurant gnocchi that I’ve had.