Lisa Nakamura's Gnocchi: the Dish that Put Allium Restaurant on the Map

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Kelly Cline
Yesterday, Allium Retaurant's Lisa Nakamura let her hair down talking about her roots. Today, she offers the recipe to the dish that Seattle foodies lovingly describe as, "soft potato pillows".

"I don't mind sharing it. I want people to ask their chefs. I think that everyone should. If you want to learn it, I'd love to teach you. I like sharing the knowledge. I like empowering people to do stuff on their own", said Nakamura. Dressed up with braised tongue as she did at Allium, or paired with vegatables, cheeses, and salami, here is a recipe you can try on your own. If you still can't resist ordering it off the menu at Allium, no one would blame you.

Allium Restaurant's Potato Gnocchi

Serves 8-12 people

Ingredients:

4 to 5 medium sized russet potatoes

3 to 4 egg yolks

1 cup cake flour, plus 1 cup for disting

salt and pepper

1 cup white wine

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

2 cups cream

grated Pamesan cheese

Instructions:

First, some tips:

If you're using store bought stock, please make sure to get the low sodium versions.

When working with potatoes, you have to use them really hot or really cold. Anything in between will make for gummy potatoes.

This recipe uses russet potatoes. The waxier kinds (fingerlings, red, Yukons) are too sticky for gnocchi.

Wash the potatoes well. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the skins are crispy and like a shell. This should take about an hour plus. About halfway through the baking process, I poke a hole in each potato with a paring knife to let extra steam and moisture escape. For these gnocchi, the drier the potato, the better.

BEFORE you start forming the gnocchi, have a pot of heaily salted water simmering on the stove. Also have an ice bath standing by, along with a slotted spoon or sieve for scooping out the cooked gnocchi.

When the potato skins are crispy, cut each potato in half and scoop out the insides. Either pass the potato through a tami or mash them until they're smooth. Work in the scant cup of cake flour, salt, and then the egg yolks. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and quickly knead it until it comes together.

Form logs of the dough, then cut them into segments. Roll into balls and then score on a gnocchi board or the back of a fork and drop immediately into the gently boiling water. Do not have the water at a rolling boil or your gnocchi may disintegrate. When the gnocchi float to the top, they are cooked. Scoop them out and place them in the ice bath.

Drain the gnocchi well. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and freeze them solid. You can then store them in air tight bags until you need them.

To cook the gnocchi for serving, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan until very hot. Add the gnocchi and sear. Deglaze with white wine. When the wine has evaporated, add stock, then heavy cream. Reduce until you have a sauce consistency.

 
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