Brown Butter Gnocchi with Pancetta and White Truffle Salt

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Anyone missing your favorite handmade pasta joints as much as we are? Besides remembering to support our local restaurants by splurging on takeout, donning their merch, and giving their gift cards through the holiday season, we’re also practicing our appreciation by reminding ourselves just how much work and care goes into every dish they put out.    

This week we're rolling up our sleeves to concoct a dish that reminds us how essential both prep work and mise en place are to a restaurant-worthy meal. 

For this recipe, do yourself a huge favor and take your time (and a deep breath) and settle into the meditative, repetitive work that is gnocchi rolling. Then, on a large cutting board or workspace, set out your pan ingredients in the order you’ll need them.

Little steps like this will relieve the stress during crucial cook times and inch your dishes closer to restaurant status.  

Recipe and Photography by Kourtney Paranteau

Makes four servings 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large russet potato, boiled and pressed through a ricer
  • 1/2 lb ricotta 
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup semolina flour
  • ¼ lb pancetta
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup parmesan, grated- plus more for finishing 
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated 
  • 2 teaspoons Trapani Fine Italian Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tellicherry Pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon Infused White Truffle Salt

In a large bowl, stir your flour, riced potato, ricotta, and large egg together with a wooden spoon or your bare hands until all the ingredients form a soft, moist dough. Be careful not to overwork. 

Dust a work surface with all-purpose flour and knead the dough for about five minutes, or until it holds together easily but doesn’t feel stiff, and roll into a ball.

Sprinkle  half of your semolina flour evenly on a baking sheet and set aside.  Break your dough into four roughly equal bundles, then roll one hunk of dough into a thick ½ wide rope.  One by one, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces and gently roll the dough bits forward, on either a pasta board or the backside of a fork with your thumb, so that the entire outside of the dumpling takes on the indentations of the board/fork.  If you’re confidently rolling your dough, your gnocchi should be slightly hollowed on the inside so the sauce can creep into the crevice.  Set each gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until you run out of dough. Sprinkle the remaining semolina flour on top of the prepared gnocchi.

Working in a large saucepan or cast-iron pan, heat pancetta over medium-heat until the fat begins to render and the meat starts to crisp, around five minutes per side.  Pull pancetta from your pan and let sweat on a paper towel, once cooled, chop roughly.  In the rendered pork fat, add sage leaves individually to the pan, making sure to evenly space out each leaf.   As the sage fries, they’ll become aromatic and crisp. Fry on each side for around one minute or until the leaf takes on a chip-like texture.  Remove from heat and let them sweat on a folded paper towel.  In the same pan, melt butter over medium-heat. The butter will foam as it browns. As this is happening, stir lightly until the bubbles begin to dissipate. 

Next up, time to cook the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss in your Fine Sea Salt and carefully place each gnocchi into the water.  To be sure none of your gnocchi sticks to the bottom of your pot, lightly stir the pasta every few seconds.  After about three minutes, the gnocchi will float to the top, and as they swim to the top remove them one by one with a slotted spoon. Transfer them to the saucepan and lower heat to medium-low.   Before you toss out your water, reserve ¼ cup and stir into the sauce with the gnocchi until it thickens, then add your cooked pancetta and chopped garlic and stir. 

Lower heat to low and toss parmesan into the pan.  Ladle the gnocchi into four dishes and finish with remaining parmesan, lemon zest, pepper, and Infused White Truffle Salt.  Retrieve resting sage and delicately place evenly throughout portions and serve. 

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