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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Gravy

America's Test Kitchen was the inspiration for our Sunday Gravy feast, although I must say we went a little beyond. Baby started the extraordinarily delicious sauce on Friday, throwing in hot sausage, meatballs, baby back ribs, wondrous braciole, and a prosciutto butt into the simmering Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes laced with red pepper flakes and Romano cheese. We purchased sturdy buccatini as our choice for pasta to lightly toss with our gravy, but I've included a fresh pasta recipe below that we meant to try, had time allowed.

From a simply made ball of dough cut into quarters, rolled into ropes 3/4" thick and cut into 3/4" pieces, we passed around the potato gnocchi first, heavenly little pillows served in single portioned spoons dressed with brown butter, frizzled sage and Parmesan cheese. Delicious enough to warrant another round!

The salad involved bitter frisee, made less angry with lots of finely chopped parsley, pan-fried pancetta and a judicious amount of my go-to favorite, Michael Lomonaco's Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette to which I added some of the olive oil and white wine reduction I had used to fry the pancetta.

After the refrigerated meats had settled in with our gravy over the course of the weekend, we warmed them to a fine, steaming heat and served with our pasta on the side! Staggering. Homemade bread went along with the lot!

I also made Ricotta Gnocchi, an old favorite that I used to make quite often and was pleased to try it again. The recipe is below, but we didn't accompany with roasted tomatoes this time as we wanted our gravy to be the sole sauce.

Wilted rapini (aka broccoli rabe) roasted with a little olive oil, white wine, onions, shallots and garlic finished us off, served with sauteed sweet sausage.

Without an excess of hyperbole, I think it's fair to say that the spoons, knives, forks and plates were licked clean!

Basic Egg Pasta
(adapted from recipe that came with the KitchenAid manual)

Yield: 1 1/4 pounds dough
4 large eggs
1 Tb water
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 30 seconds.
Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Removed dough from bowl and and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment.

To Cook Pasta
Add 2 tsp salt and 1 Tb oil (optional) to 6 quarts boiling water. Gradually add pasta and continue to cook at a boil until pasta is "al dente" or slightly firm to the bite. Pasta floats to the top of the water while cooking, so stir occasionally to keep it cooking evenly. Dry pasta cooks in about 7 minutes; fresh pasta, 6 minutes. Drain in a colander.

For the recipe from America's Test Kitchen for Hearty Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy) click here.

For the Potato Gnocchi recipe, click here.

For the Ricotta Gnocchi recipe, click here.

Soundtrack: Quincy Jones, Hip Hits; Stanley Turrentine, The Spoiler; Sarah Vaughan, Personal Mix; Sunshine Ghetto Day, Personal Mix; Sampled. tunes and Barbra.

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