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In the Kitchen With: Camille Becerra and Nicole Franzen’s Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms

by Kristina Gill


This week we have a beautiful recipe by chef Camille Becerra and photographer Nicole Franzen, who worked together to make a dish that’s a feast for the eyes and, given that I love mushrooms, certainly a feast for the palate. In our house, we have an “only one cook in the kitchen” rule because the place is so small, but if I had a larger kitchen, I would happily prepare meals with friends and family, just as Nicole and Camille did. During the holidays when I am back home, that’s what I love most — waking up in the morning and being in the kitchen while everyone makes breakfast together. Actually, my cousin and my aunts make breakfast, and I just get in the way. I’m sure they love me for it, but that’s what family is for!

Gnocchi are very easy to make, and Camille has chosen a failsafe recipe from Tom Colicchio and added her own sauce. Maybe you can try making these with your family or friends this weekend, too! In our archives, we also have recipes for sweet potato gnocchi and orange ricotta breakfast dumplings (a very similar method to traditional gnocchi). — Kristina

About Camille and Nicole: Camille Becerra is a chef with over 15 years of New York restaurant experience. She appeared on Top Chef as a contestant in Season 3; was owner of the beloved Brooklyn restaurant, Paloma; and founded various pop-ups throughout the city including The Hunger and The Cookery. She is currently hosting dinners Friday nights in Tribeca and developing various food-related projects. Nicole Franzen is a food and lifestyle photographer living in Brooklyn. Her passion and love for food started at a very young age and stemmed from an 11-year background working in restaurants. She writes a popular blog called La Buena Vida where she showcases her work and occasional recipes.

See how Camille and Nicole used these beautiful mushrooms after the jump . . .


Gnocchi
(Adapted from Tom Colicchio’s Craft of Cooking)
Serves 4–6

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 yolk
  • salt

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Wash and prick potatoes with a fork. Bake until cooked through, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

3. Immediately after removing the potatoes from the oven, cut them open lengthwise to allow the steam to release. Scoop out the potato and pass through a ricer.

4. Make a well in the pile of potato for the egg yolk. Sprinkle the flour along with two good pinches of salt throughout the pile. With a bench scraper, cut the flour and egg into the potato until well mixed. With your hands, make two equal rounds. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

5. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

6. Cut each round into four and roll out to make a long rope 1/2 inch wide. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece slightly to achieve uniformity. Place on a floured sheet pan until ready to cook. Once the water has come to a gentle boil, add the gnocchi in batches so as not to crowd them. When they rise and float to the top, remove them, at which point you can either hold them in an ice bath or immediately drop them into the lemon cream sauce and hold until ready to plate. If you hold them in an ice bath, warm them slow and low in the cream sauce.

Spicy Lemon Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4–6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch of dried chili

 

1. Bring the water, heavy cream, chili and zest of lemon to a boil.

2. Remove from heat and whisk in cold, cubed butter.

3. Whisk in the juice of half a lemon. Cut the other half into wedges, one for each serving.

4. Add the gnocchi to the cream sauce and coat well.

5. Plate and drizzle some of the cream, and top with sauté of mushrooms, a squeeze of lemon wedge and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Sauté of Mushroom

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • salt
  • pepper

 

1. Cut mushrooms or leave whole if they are small.

2. Heat pan until very hot. Add the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan and immediately add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until a golden brown color forms.

3. Add the whole thyme sprigs. When you hear the thyme begin to pop, turn off the heat and add the butter.

4. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The process goes by very fast, so be sure to stay on top of them.


All food photography by Nicole Franzen

Why Camille and Nicole Love This Recipe

These little pillows of love aren’t just delicious, they are easy to make and don’t require all the fuss that comes with making other types of pasta. Gnocchi has a bad reputation for being heavy, and these are everything but — they are soft and fluffy, served in a delicious pool of citrusy butter and topped with perfectly crisped, earthy, wild mushrooms. Heaven in a bowl.

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