Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
There is something strangely romantic about this dish. I don't know. It's lovely. If you can't be bothered to make your own gnocchi, sure, go buy some. Or, better yet, if you are a pro at making gnocchi, go ahead and use your own recipe. I don't mind. I am certainly not claming authenticity here; I made the recipe up and have only made gnocchi once before, ever. So...yours could verrrrry well be much better than mine. That said, I thought it turned out pretty darn well.
Funnily enough, this is based off of something I had quite a few years ago...in a French restaurant...in Tel Aviv. Italian food at a French place in Israel, reinvented in the USA. Hilarious.
I didn't make ridges in my gnocchi because when I ate the dish that inspired this, they were cut into discs, and I don't know, sometimes I just get it in my head that I want things to be the same in weird ways like that. But mine didn't really resemble discs anyhow. More like pillows. Feel free to experiment.
By the way. I feel this is quite scattered, the way I wrote this recipe out. I hope people aren't having trouble following my recipes. I'm still quite new to this, and find myself often forgetting to measure out how much I used, and doing things in a roundabout way (such as making my roux in a separate pan...) I am in the process of turning over a new leaf and being more organized with all this, so my recipes are easier to read. Please, let me know if you think they are confusing!
For the gnocchi:
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup flour
1 large egg
a generous pinch of salt
For the sauce:
3 medium onions, chopped
A pinch sugar
1 tbsp flour
1-2 cups beef broth or stock
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
A pinch rubbed sage
1 tsp thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
First, get your onions on the stove. In a large pan, melt a good amount of butter and a splash of sunflower oil. Be sure the heat isn't very high. Add your onions. It will take them about a half an hour to caramelize, so just be sure to check up on them every so often. After about ten minutes, add a pinch of salt to them, and you can add a sprinkling of sugar as well. Stir every so often, and make sure they don't burn. Besides that, you can really focus on the gnocchi...
Boil water and add your potatoes. When they are soft, remove from pot and immediately put through a ricer or mash until there are absolutely no lumps.
In a small bowl, whisk your egg with salt and pepper. Incorporate into the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the center, and slowly add the flour until it has formed a soft dough. Knead it, but not too much or it will become less fluffy.
Lightly flour a surface. Tear off some of your dough, and roll out a "rope". Cut into pieces, toss in the flour, and set aside. Repeat this until you have used all of your dough.
In a small pan, add some butter and your mushrooms. Cook until soft, then remove from heat and set aside. Wipe your pan clean so you can use it again...
Check on your onions. As they get towards the end of their caramelization, you may need to stir them a bit more frequently, and scrape the bottom of the pan. When they are deep golden brown and smell like heaven, they're probably finished. Add a big glug of red wine, and stir, scraping up everything from the pan, perhaps raising the heat just a smidgen.
In your small pan (and it may have been unnecessary to use another pan, I probably could have just added this to the onions, but whatever) add equal amounts butter and flour (about a tablespoon of each) and cook until a golden paste is formed. Add a splash of beef broth. Stir. It will turn into a creamy sauce. Add another, bigger splash and stir to incorporate again. Then tip the whole thing into your onion pan. Stir.
Add another, much bigger glug of broth and stir again. It will form a cohesive sauce. Reduce, then add more broth and repeat a few times. Add your mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Taste. If you desire more of the beef flavor, add more broth, stir in and let thicken again.
When your water has come to a boil, salt generously (I belng to the school of thought that pasta ought to be boiled in seawater...) and add your gnocchi. You will know when they are cooked when they float to the top. I actually just used a slotted spoon, removed them as they rose to the top, and put them directly into the sauce.
I also added about a spoonful of the cooking water at the last minute and stirred it in over low heat.
Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.