Sunday, October 4, 2015

Girlfriends and Gnocchi

Every year or so three of my home town girlfriends and I get together for a girls weekend. The last time we were able to meet was in January 2014 (recap here). During that getaway we made homemade ravioli.  We had so much fun that I thought it would be equally fun to take a cooking class together.  So we booked a gnocchi cooking class at Sur la Table in San Francisco and made all the necessary arrangements to spend the weekend together. What fun we had!
I had previously attempted making gnocchi for dinner one time while my children still lived at home.  They weren't impressed with the dense, hockey-puck consistency, Italian potato dumplings that I presented them. I've since been intimidated to try again.  No one else in our group had made gnocchi before and Jody had never even tasted gnocchi.  So we all entered this class pretty much as newbies. The Chef and her staff had things very organized.  We had work stations fully equipped with the necessary tools as well as the food necessities. We made two types of gnocchi, the traditional potato gnocchi as well as a beet version. They weren't difficult to make at all.  
Using a potato ricer to make small, almost rice-like, pieces of cooked potato.
Rolling out the gnocchi.
We made two sauces for the gnocchi.  The plain gnocchi was
mixed with a corn, pancetta and sage sauce.  We all loved this, it was so fresh and earthy.  We added beet puree to the next batch of gnocchi which was topped with a cream sauce made with gorgonzola and wilted greens (we used spinach, chard and kale).  We were all in agreement that this dish was too rich for us, it would maybe be better as an appetizer.  I know I'll never make the sauce as my husband hates anything with blue cheese! I will make the beet gnocchi again, using a much simpler sauce.
We loved this gnocchi version the best!

The beet gnocchi simmering in the gorgonzola sauce.
We had a blast at the class, taking turns chopping, mixing the gnocchi dough, rolling them out, and cooking the sauces, laughing throughout the two hour session. We were definitely the most lively group in the class and we aren't ashamed of that! Probably the only thing that would've made the class better was some wine to drink, not just to cook with!

We're tossing around plans for our next gathering.  No matter where we go, what we do, I know we will have a good time. We often go awhile with no contact but when we meet up again it's as if we were never apart. We all realize how fortunate we are to maintain friendships started many years ago.

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