Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bread and Kale Gnocchi

During my recent vacations in Poland I did not cook at all but ate a lot. I enjoyed Polish food and most of all Polish bread. I think we have one of the best breads in the world and the richest variety of it.

In any Polish home it is almost religious to have plenty of bread in a bread box. But, because we are so obsessed with bread, we often buy too much of it. Then, on the next day, we cannot resist buying a new batch straight from the bakery, fresh and warm and this way we repeatedly end up with significant amounts of old bread which, although still good on the next day, cannot compete with the fresh one.

Unfortunately, we do not recycle bread, not even to feed animals. The only way then to use old bread is to cook with it. Today's recipe, which comes from the Italian cuisine where this gluten loaded delicacy is also very popular, is one of the great ideas how to recycle old bread. Not surprisingly, Italians being Italians use bread leftovers to make yet another variety of gnocchi.

For this particular recipe I used different types of old bread which I happened to have, mostly whole wheat and country style. Just to make it more healthy and nutritious I added kale, which also enriched the taste of my gnocchi, which can be served with butter or butter fried sage.

Bread and Kale Gnocchi

2 lb of one or two-day old bread, such as country style, cut into smaller chunks,
1/2 lb kale, preferably Tuscan,
3 eggs,
1/2 cup all purpose flour,
a pinch of nutmeg,
6 tbsp unsalted butter,
8-10 sage leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan.

1. Place bread in a large bowl and cover with milk. Let it soak for about an hour. Squeeze the milk well out and place the bread in a food processor.
2. Chop roughly kale and blanch it in a hot water. Drain well on the colander and add to the soaked bread. Puree all the ingredients until smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl. Sift in flour, add eggs, 1/3 cup Parmesan, salt and nutmeg. Mix well.

4. Bring to boiling a large pot of salted water. Scoop a portion of the mixture on a soup spoon and drop into a pot by dipping the spoon in boiling water. Let the gnocchi afloat and cook on a low temperature for about 4 minutes.

5. Drain the first batch of gnocchi and follow with the remaining batter.
6. To finish the dish, fry the butter in a small pot until it bubbles. Add sage leaves and fry them until crispy for about a minute. Pour the hot butter and sage on gnocchi and finish with Parmesan.