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Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Daniel Boulud is widely recognized as one of the finest chefs in the world, and as owner of Restaurant Daniel in New York he is constantly coming up with dishes at the height of haute cuisine. But at his more casual Café Boulud, where Andrew Carmellini is the on-premises chef, Boulud harks back to the dreamy dishes of his childhood in a small town outside of Lyons, France. At the same time, he loves Italian food, which he gives his own Gallic twist, as in these lovely ricotta-light gnocchi just moistened with a light broth. In Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud Cookbook he writes of his gnocchi dish: “You can tinker with the selection of vegetables—I always do—but I like to keep the earthy flavors and crunch of carrots and radishes, and the sweetness of fresh peas.“ This recipe is adapted from his book.
1. Prepare the gnocchi: Place the ricotta in a tea towel and squeeze to force out the excess moisture. Set it aside.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and plunge in the pea shoots. Cook until the leaves are tender but still green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the leaves in a strainer and run them under cold water to set their color and cool them. Press the leaves between your hands to remove the excess water, and pat dry between paper towels.
3. In a small food processor or blender, combine the leaves with the ricotta and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add the flour, season with salt and white pepper to taste, and pulse just to blend. Then taste, and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Press the gnocchi mixture through a sieve into a bowl.
4. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a saucepan, and add 1½ heaping teaspoons salt. Then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Set a bowl filled with ice cubes and water close to the stove. Using two teaspoons, make gnocchi dumplings, about 1 inch in diameter, by picking up some of the gnocchi mixture on one spoon and scraping it off into the simmering water with the other. Poach the gnocchi in three batches, cooking each batch for 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the ice-water bath.
5. When the gnocchi are cold, use the slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate. Drizzle a little olive oil over them, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until needed. (They can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance.)
6. Prepare the broth: In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Toss in the scallions, shallot, and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent but not colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, garlic, and stock, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the morels and salt and white pepper to taste, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Uncover the pan, add the peas, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more.
7. Check the liquid in the pan to make sure it is at a very gentle simmer. Then add the gnocchi, pea shoot leaves, and olive oil. Heat the gnocchi gently for 3 minutes, then add the radishes. Taste the broth, and add more salt and pepper, stock, or olive oil, if needed. Remove the pan from the heat.
8. Lift the gnocchi and vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon, and divide them among 4 warmed shallow soup plates. Pour an equal amount of broth over each serving, sprinkle with the chives, and serve immediately.
Wine suggestion: Muller-Thurgau
Pea shoots can be found in Asian and specialty produce markets during the spring and summer.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, and on using water instead of vegetable stock.
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