Ah, Stanley Tucci. You with the biceps and the flirtatious glance. There’s hardly a man or woman with a pulse who isn’t smitten right now. And I suspect you know it.
You had us at negroni. Up. Shaking that shaker, T-shirt sleeves straining against immaculately toned arms, you can hardly have been oblivious to our collective sighs.
Then you made gnocchi and it was game over. Our frustrated lockdown hormones had a new object of desire. Don’t wait up, Cuomo; Tucci’s coming to dinner.
So, when your quarantine cooking companion has the same taste in men, what else are you going to whip up on Memorial Day weekend but a Tucci feast?
Matt d’Silva is a cordon bleu-trained chef. I think hummus and carrots constitutes cooking. Together, we’re making lockdown less dull (and I’m using my stove for the first time in five years).
Tucci’s gnocchi (my comments are in brackets)
“Gnocchi has been one of our favorite lockdown dinners,” he said on Instagram, “as it’s simple to make, uses few ingredients, and everyone loves it. You can serve with pesto, marinara, fresh cherry tomatoes cooked in oil with garlic, or sage butter. Versatile and SO good.”
1.5 lb/700g yellow fleshed potatoes, skin on
1 large egg and egg yolk
2 tsp olive oil
Approx ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ to 1 cup/100-125g of plain flour, as needed – 00 flour if you have it, aka pasta flour as it’s extremely fine
1 cup/85g finely grated parmesan cheese
More flour for rolling, and semolina flour for dusting.
(This feeds four or five people, he says, but, spoiler alert: I currently have enough gnocchi in my freezer to survive the zombie apocalypse.)
1. Place potatoes, skin-on, in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Season with salt and bring to a low boil.
2. Cook until the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a fork but not breaking apart.
3. Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly, then remove the skin by simply peeling it off. Easiest to do when the potatoes are still warm. (Stanley, this took about AN HOUR! Is it really so bad to just peel the potatoes the standard way, chop them up, and boil them for a quarter of the time?)
4. Mash the potatoes in a bowl with a fork/potato masher, or use a ricer if you are fancy. Try to work out any lumps. ( I may not have got all the lumps.)
5. Make a well in the centre and liberally sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the potatoes. Distribute your cheese and ¾ cup of your flour around the edge of your well.
6. Mix your egg, oil, nutmeg and add to the well.
7. Using a fork, start to gently incorporate your ingredients and then use your hands to bring together. Add more flour if needed to form a smooth dough. (You’ll need more flour. My mixture was a gloopy, sticky mess. Also, mixing was almost impossible in my overflowing medium-sized bowl – the only bowl I own. The result was flour literally everywhere. Warn your roommate before you attempt this feat so they can vacate the premises lest they, too, get covered.)
8. Lightly flour a work surface, take a piece of dough – think the size of a small satsuma – and roll it out into a thin log, about half an inch thick. (“It’s the thickness of a thumb,” Matt advised helpfully. “Or a skinny penis.”) Cut into small pieces and place on a tray with either flour or, ideally, semolina flour. Coat by shaking the tray, this will stop them sticking. Keep going! (This bit got really, really boring. There were hundreds of the little f*ckers.)
9. Once done, ensure your tray is not over-crowded (too late – it looks like the upstate train in apple-picking season on there) and each gnocchi is dusted with either flour or semolina.
10. You can cook straight away in boiling salted water. Or place in fridge. (Even better, says Matt, freeze it in bags with some more flour to prevent sticking – it’ll last up to six weeks.)
11. When cooking, the gnocchi will take only a minute to come to the top of the saucepan. Scoop off and add to a frying pan with your sauce. (They were genuinely delicious. I tossed mine in butter and garlic – with more cheese. Matt had his with sage, garlic, brown butter, and spinach – yum. Now watch the master in action.)
Double shot of gin
Single shot of good sweet vermouth
Single shot campari
1. Place ice in the cocktail shaker.
2. Add gin, vermouth and campari.
4. Drain and serve in a coupe or martini glass with a slice of orange.
5. Tease your audience – you know they love it. (This is the kind of cooking I can get behind.)
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