Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March Madness – Purple and Gold style

This used to be Laker country – as in – Shaq, Kobe, Phil, Robert Horry, et al. Now it’s more Clipper Country - as in the . I’m not so much a Laker fan anymore (since Kobe ruined the team two years ago – I may recover some day). I’ve been an LA Clippers fan since their Buffalo Braves days (I’ll never reveal why!). But the Lakers are still a strong force here in SoCal.

But it’s March. In March we have – one month of college basketball finals and the pros are fighting for spots in the NBA playoffs.

In the teenage male mind, everything seems to be connected to basketball in March (everything that’s not girls, that is). I guess because football is over, baseball has not really begun yet, and soccer hasn’t really made a big impact in the US – yet. Even the teenage female mind is surprisingly tuned into this March Madness.

I had already told everyone I was making Gnocchi with the Purple Peruvian potatoes I had bought last weekend (again at the Farmers market). Sometimes you just have to make food fun.

We were shopping our local , calmly discussing how to finish the dinner. When all the sudden, in front of the bell peppers, the yellow bell peppers, the LA Laker yellow colored peppers, the plan was set. Purple Gnocchi with Yellow Pepper Sauce. Food that matches team colors. I protested. I don’t plan meals for comic appeal – fun yes, comic no. But as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes you’ve got to please the crowd.

To balance it, a grape tomato salad with tarragon vinaigrette and a little grated Pecorino Romano on top – to match the LA Clippers Red and White had to go alongside.

Obviously the tomato salad won handily.

Purple Peruvian Gnocchi with Yellow Pepper Sage Sauce
based on a recipe by

2-3 lbs purple Peruvian potatoes (unpeeled)
½ to ¾ lb flour – depends on the exact amount of potatoes, humidity, etc.
1 tsp salt
Yellow Pepper Sage Sauce
Extra sage leaves for garnish
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish, if desired

Important – buy a potato press right now! Don’t try this without one!

Boil potatoes in a pot of water until tender. Drain and let cool slightly. Press potatoes through the potato press into a large bowl. Remove excess skins after each press.

Sprinkle salt over potatoes. Sprinkle flour over potatoes and work in with your hands. Continue to add flour and work with your hands until you have a dough that will hold together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5-10 minutes, until a nice textured dough is formed.

Tear off a small ball of dough, and roll it into a rope the diameter of your thumb on a floured board. Cut ½ to 1 inch lengths. Roll each piece with your thumb along the tines of a fork, making an indent in the ball, and leaving the characteristic ridges in each piece. Let each piece of dough drop into a floured baking sheet. Continue rolling, cutting and making ridges in the remaining dough.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Drop about ¼ of the balls into the water at a time. Allow to cook until they float to the surface. Scoop the Gnocchi to a colander to drain.

Spoon some of the yellow pepper sage sauce into a pasta bowl. Place Gnocchi on top of sauce. Decorate with extra sage leaves. Sprinkle with additional grated Pecorino Romano if desired. Enjoy!

Yellow Pepper Sage Sauce

4 large, fleshy red bell peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic
1 cup water or chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin from the peppers. Cut each in half lengthwise and pull out and discard the stem, seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers lengthwise into strips.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and bell peppers and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the peppers soften, about 10 minutes. Add the water or stock and sage and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Purée the pepper mixture in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and transfer to a bowl.

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Blogger ilva said...

I love the idea of making purple gnocchi! I never managed to find blue potatoes, do they differ much from normal ones, tastewise I mean?

11:07 AM  

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