Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kale and Mushroom Gnocchi

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Gnocchi is one of many things that I haven't quite mastered, but not for lack of trying. For whatever reason, mine either comes out dense and gummy or disintegrates in boiling water. This batch came out okay, but I think I may have boiled them a bit too long. My other problem was actually getting those damned potatoes cooked. I followed a recipe that requires baking whole Russet potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour in 400 degree oven before ricing them. I'm sorry, but not even I have that kind of time. Besides, even after 45 minutes, mine were still completely raw inside. I got frustrated, chopped them into large chunks and nuked the heck out of them. And that seemed to have done the trick. For future reference, I'm going to microwave potatoes before baking so they get done a lot faster.

If you're not up to making gnocchi from scratch, just plain ol' dried pasta will work here. I think this would be particularly good with whole wheat pasta because of its nutty flavors. I particularly like the earthy qualities of the mushroom and kale combination and that little bit of spiciness from red pepper flakes really wakes up the palate.

You'll need:
  • 1 bunch of kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (I used a combination of fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms), sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, saute onion slices and in olive oil until softened. Add red pepper flakes, kale and white wine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until kale turns bright green and becomes wilted. Add cannellini beans and mushroom slices and toss together. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for another 5 to 8 minutes until mushrooms soften. Add butter or butter substitute and lemon juice just prior to tossing together with cooked pasta. Serve immediately.

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