Gnocchi Recipe

gnocchiThis recipe for gnocchi uses potatoes but earlier versions of this dish used semolina flour and eggs. This is another dish that comes from Italy. It has been popular there since the middle ages and similar versions of this dish have become popular in other parts of Europe as well.

It is quite simple to make as it only has three ingredients and it does not require a pasta maker. This is a great way to make fresh pasta that is healthier and tastier than anything that you can find in a store. For this recipe I used the Bolognese Meat Sauce with flat leaf parsley as a garnish.

3 Russet potatoes
1 tspn kosher salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash potatoes and then pat them dry with a towel.
  3. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them for 1 hour.
  4. Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Using a oven mit and paring knife, peel skin from the potatoes.
  6. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, flake the potatoes so that no large pieces of potato remain.
    flaked potatoes
  7. Let potatoes cool for another 20 minutes.
  8. Pour flour and salt over the flaked potatoes.
  9. Using your hand, mix the flour, salt, and potatoes together so that they form a ball of dough.
    gnocchi dough
  10. Using 1/4 of this dough, form a long rope about 3/4 of an inch in diameter on a well floured counter top. If rope breaks apart as you are rolling it, you may need to add a little flour to the dough.
    gnocchi rope
  11. Cut the rope into 3/4 inch pieces.
    pieces of gnocchi
  12. Roll each piece along the grooves of a fork to give each gnocci texture. This will allow the sauce to adhere to the pasta when it is served.
  13. Repeat steps #10 - #12 until you have used all of the dough.
  14. Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet and place in a freezer for 1/2 to 1 hour.frozen gnocchi
  15. Remove the gnocchi from the freezer and boil a large pot of water.
  16. Place one of the pieces of gnocchi in the pot. After a few minutes, the gnocchi should float to the top. Now that you are sure that the water has reached the proper temperature, you can add enough gnocchi to cover the bottom of the pot.
    gnocchi floating
  17. As the pieces float to the top, remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain any off any residual water.
  18. Serve the gnocchi in a large bowl, alternating a layer of your favorite pasta sauce with a layer of the gnocchi.

Bolognese Meat Sauce Recipe

Bolognese SauceThis recipe for Bolognese meat sauce is an all purpose recipe that can be used with any type of pasta. This style of sauce can be traced back to Bologna, Italy. It differs from the common red sauces often served with pasta in that it only uses a small amount of tomato. Most of the sauces flavor and color comes from the soffritto (combination of onions, celery, and carrots).

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, quartered and finely diced
3/4 pound ground beef
1 8oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the celery, onion, carrot, and ground beef.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. After the beef is brown and the onions are clear and translucent in color, add the tomato paste and white wine.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 1/2 hours. If sauce gets too thick during this time, add a small amount of water.
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Gnocchi Recipe


Artichoke Jalapeno Dip Recipe

artichoke jalapeno dipThis recipe for Artichoke Jalapeno Dip is great for parties, cookouts, etc. You can adjust the amount of jalapenos depending on how spicy you like your food.

Recommended Equipment:
food processor

8oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
2 -3 tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper slices
1 cup Parmesan cheese
6 oz. of artichoke hearts, from can or jar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tspn of Tabasco green jalapeno sauce

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Finely chop up the jalapeno peppers in a food processor.
  3. Add the artichoke hearts (without the juice) to the food processor and pulse a couple of times.
  4. Add the artichokes and jalapenos to the cheese mixture along with the green Tabasco sauce.
  5. Add additional juice from the can or jar of artichoke hearts to the mixture to get the consistency that you want.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Cuban Rum Cake Recipe

Rum Cake CubanaCuban Rum Cake is similar in texture to tres leches cake. This dessert features a wide range of flavors and textures from the sweet meringue, to a more mild, moist cake, to a creamy custard finish. As the name implies, this dessert is very popular in Cuba but can also be found throughout the Caribbean as its main ingredients of coconut milk, sugar, and rum are readily available throughout the region.

Recommended Equipment:
9 x 2 round cake pan
stand mixer

1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1 1/2 cups light (winter) flour
1 tspn baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
2 eggs, room temp.
2 tbsp light rum (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter the round 9 x 2 cake pan and lightly dust with flour.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the baking powder, flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, butter milk, vanilla, and rum.
  5. In a third bowl, using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and creamy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture as you mix at low speed.
  7. Next, slowly add 1/3 of the dry flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture continuing to mix at low speed.
  8. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture while you continue to mix at low speed.
  9. Repeat steps #7 and #8 two more times, until all of the ingredients have been mixed into the batter.
  10. Pour the batter into the round cake pan and smooth out the top surface so that it is flat.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes. The cake should be golden brown and if you insert a fork into the top of the cake it should come out clean.
  12. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. The center of the cake may be slightly lower than the perimeter. This is normal.
  13. Then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  14. Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally like a hamburger bun.
  15. Place the top of the cake (cut side up) on to a cake plate or in a large pie dish. I used a pie dish because this cake will be filled with custard that can run off of a plate when the cake is cut.
  16. Remove some of the cake form the center of the cake that you just placed in the dish.
  17. Fill the hollow center with a generous portion of Natilla Cuban Custard.
  18. Place the other half of the cake on top.
  19. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another hour.
  20. Top with meringue.
Cuban Flag Cuba [ print this recipe for Cuban Rum Cake ]

Meringue Icing Recipe

This recipe for Meringue Icing can be used with the Cuban Rum Cake recipe. However, this recipe makes alot of Meringue Icing so if you are using it for the Cuban Rum Cake, you may want to make 1/2 of this recipe.

Recommended Equipment:
stand mixer

3 egg whites - save the egg yolks if you are going to make the Natilla for the Cuban Rum Cake.
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 tspn salt
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn lemon extract

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until white peaks begin to appear.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and salt. Cook over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture begins to boil.
  3. Pour the hot mixture in a narrow stream onto the egg whites while beating the egg whites at high speed. Continue to beat the mixture until stiff white peaks appear.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon extract.
France [ print this recipe for Meringue Icing ]

Sloppy Joe Recipe

Sloppy JoeThe Sloppy Joe sandwich was invented in the United States over a hundred years ago. However, there is no consensus on the exact location where it originated. Most say that it was first served in a bar in Key West, Florida. Others say that it was first prepared in Sioux City, Iowa by a chef named Joe.

This Sloppy Joe recipe gets the traditional tomato base from the ketchup. The pepper, onion, sugar, and cloves give this sandwich a taste that is a perfect combination of sweet and savory.

1 pound ground beef
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tspn ground cloves
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tspn salt
1 cup ketchup

  1. In a large pot, brown the ground beef over medium heat.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients to the pot.
  3. Cover the pot and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Serve on your favorite type of roll.
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Creme de Abacate ( Avocado Cream )

avocado creamAvocado cream is a great dessert made from the simplest ingredients. The first time that I had this dessert was in Belo Horizonte in Brazil's Minas Gerais state. It is mildly sweet in flavor. In addition to being a great finish to a meal, it is also great baby food sans the port of course.

3 avocadosavocados
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of sea salt
6 tbsp milk
2 tbsp port wine (optional)

  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds.
  2. In a large bowl, scoop out the flesh of the avocados and chop it into medium size pieces.
  3. Cover the avocado with the sugar and the lime juice.
  4. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Put the avocado, milk, and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Pass the mixture through a sieve. You will need to press it through the mesh using the back of a spoon.
  7. Stir the port into the mixture (if you choose to use it) and distribute it in dessert glasses.
  8. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
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Chocolate Cake Frosting Recipe

Chocolate IcingThis is a good all-purpose recipe for chocolate frosting. I use it when making Mayan Chocolate Cake, but it works well with any type of basic cake or cup cake recipe.

Recommended Equipment:

stand mixer

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla extract
5 tbsp evaporated milk
1/2 tbsp Kahlua (optional)

  1. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa and the confectioners sugar and set aside.
  2. Using the mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  3. Alternate adding the sugar and the evaporated milk to the creamed butter running the mixer on low.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. Adjust the consistency by adding additional sugar or milk (if necessary).
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