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Kitchen Adventures: Gnocchi troubles, delicious result

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

Pork Milanese is one of my favorite dishes to make for company. It’s a delicious Italian dish that can be paired with a salad, veggies, pasta or all of the above.

For this particular meal, the dish was served with homemade potato gnocchi (dumpling pasta) in a tomato, basil and parmesan sauce. 

The gnocchi decided to be difficult but luckily the end result was still a delicious treat.

There are a few shortcuts you can take while preparing Pork Milanese. Use minute or breakfast chops instead of pounding the pork chops into the desired thickness. They are already the desired thickness and it can save time. But if you’ve had a stressful day you might want to use the recipe's method to relieve stress.

Also, you can purchase Italian bread crumbs if you normally don’t have basil and thyme on hand. When I use the Italian variety of bread crumbs, I usually add basil to it as well.

The taste of freshly grated parmesan in this dish is better than the canned shaker-style parmesan. That’s one step not to skip.

This dish also is good when plated over some tomato sauce or chutney for an added taste.

While the Pork Milanese always proves to be a simple dish, the gnocchi was difficult this time around.

First, I couldn’t find the instruction manual with recipes for the electric pasta making machine. Thanks to modern ingenuity in cooking, a Google search came to the rescue with some instructions for making gnocchi in a pasta machine.

Then, the pasta machine wouldn’t cooperate. It mixed the dough well but took forever to extrude the pasta. After about 30 minutes of pasta making with only a handful of gnocchi to show for it, I took the dough out of the machine and just cut the gnocchi by hand. It turned out to be easier to make by hand anyway.

Roll out the dough, slice it into small dumpling-like pieces and press a fork into the top to create little ridges on top. Boil the gnocchi in water until done.

Usually, I serve gnocchi in an alfredo or other cheese sauce, but this time I made a tomato based sauce. Starting with a small can of plain tomato sauce, add some dried basil and a lot of shredded parmesan cheese until it reaches the desired taste. Heat the mixture on the stove until cooked.

Divertiti! (Enjoy!)

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Pork Milanese
(Can be made with veal as well) 

½ cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 ¼ cups plain dried bread crumbs
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 8-ounce center-cut pork loin chops (each about one inch thick)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges 

Place the flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Place the eggs in another wide, shallow bowl. Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and thyme in a third wide, shallow bowl.

Using a meat mallet, pound the pork chops on the work surface until they are ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle the pork chops with one teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Working with one pork chop at a time, dredge the chops in the flour to coat lightly, then dip the chops into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess egg to drip off. Finally, coat the pork chops with the breadcrumb mixture pressing gently to adhere. Set the pork chops in a single layer on a baking sheet. (The pork chops can be prepared up to this point four hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate if needed)

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a rack to warm chops after cooking.

In a large, heavy sauté pan with high sides, melt the butter in the oil over medium heat until hot. Carefully place two pork chops in the oil mixture and cook until light golden brown, about three minutes per side. Transfer the chops to the baking sheet and sprinkle with more salt to taste. Keep the cooked chops warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining two chops.

Place one pork chop on each of four dinner places and serve immediately with lemon wedges. 

Recipe from “Everyday Italian” by Giada De Laurentiis

Electric Pasta Maker Gnocchi (using instant potatoes)
1 cup flour
1 cup instant mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoon melted butter or oil 

Mix dry ingredients in machine. Add egg, butter and hot water or hot milk to fill batch line to dry ingredients. Might need to add more hot liquid, one teaspoon at a time, depending on humidity. If necessary, return the first few inches extruded back into the mixing bin until pasta is coming out fairly smooth.

Cut into 1 inch pieces. Because this is a thicker pasta (dumpling) it will take longer to cook. Cook in six quarts of boiling water. Test for firmness (about five minutes).