My kids both
love to be in the kitchen, which makes it a lot of fun to
cook for them. Although they're still a little too young to
sauté mushrooms or dice onions, they're helpful nonetheless.
Benno, who is almost three, will put on an apron and stand
on a stool next to me, handing me things I need and asking
questions. He's also a great help in tasting and adjusting
seasoning. Leo, at age one, provides our entertainment while
we cook, and likes to put dishes in the dishwasher - and sometimes
take them out again.
and Leo are a parent's - and a chef's - dream in that they
really go for food that most kids their age wouldn't touch:
spinach, goat's milk yogurt, raw sliced garlic, spicy sauces.
The white bean bruschetta mixture I serve at PO is one of
the first foods that Benno ever ate, and both boys still love
it. They're also huge pasta fans, and the gnocchi with oxtails
is a favorite. The soft bitew of the gnocchi in combination
with slow-braised meat makes an easy-to eat dish for young
kids, even while they're teething!
lbs. russet potatoes
cups all-purpose flour
cup canola oil
whole potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to
a boil and cook at a low boil until they are soft, about 45
minutes. While still warm, peel the potatoes and pass them
through a vegetable mill onto a clean pasta board.
6 quarts of water to a boil. Set up an ice bath with 6 cups
ice water nearby.
Make a well
in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle all over with the
flour. Break the egg into the center of the well, add the
salt, and, using a fork, stir into the flour and potatoes
as if you were making pasta. Once the egg is mixed in, bring
the dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed.
Knead gently another 4 minutes, until ball is dry to the touch.
dough into 6 large balls. Roll each ball into three-fourth
inch-diameter ropes and cut the ropes into 1-inch-long pieces.
Flick the pieces off of a fork or along the concave side of
a cheese grater to score the sides. Drop the dough pieces
into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface,
about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi
to the ice bath. Meanwhile, continue with the remaining dough,
forming ropes, cutting 1-inch pieces, and flicking them off
a fork. Continue until all the gnocchi have been cooked and
allow them to sit several minutes in the ice bath.
gnocchi and transfer to a mixing bowl. Toss with the canola
oil and store covered in the refrigerator for us to 48 hours
or until ready to serve.