Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gnocchi part 2 -- the cavatelli machine


My recently dour mood forced me to go out and buy myself a toy.  I bought a cavatelli machine.

Here's the story:  I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, one of my guilty pleasures on the Food Network.  Host Guy Fieri was visiting a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh called LoBello's.  We watched as the chef, Ben LoBello, cranked out cavatelli with this nifty, hand-cranked machine.  I was stunned.  I've been around food prep like this for years, and I thought I'd seen it all, but I have NEVER seen this machine.

I feverishly started searching the Web for such a device.  "Hand cranked gnocchi machine," and so on.  Turns out they're called "cavatelli machines."  And they exist.  And you can buy them on Amazon.com, among other places.

I ventured to 9th Street, the Italian Market in Philadelphia, and went to Fante's (http://www.fantes.com).  I figured that if anyone would have these, they would.  And they did.  And believe it or not, $5 cheaper than online.  And no shipping.  The machine was $39.99.  Awesome.  I bought it.  Dour mood dispelled!

Brought it home, dug up LoBello's cavatelli recipe from Food Network, and went to work.

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup dried potato flakes
Pinch of salt
About 1 cup water



Mix well with dough hook, adding water sparingly until it comes together.  Turn out onto a board and knead a few times.  At this point you can let it rest for a while.  I didn't.






I cut the dough into 4 chunks, and rolled out 4 logs.  I cut each log in half.  




I tried the first in the machine.  Not bad.  I caught them in a baking dish sprinkled with flour.  Tried the second log.  Disaster!  They all stuck together.  Remember the original Star Trek movie?  There's the one scene towards the beginning where they're outfitting the 'new' Enterprise and they want to try the transporter.  The engineer isn't sure it's ready, but they decide to try.  The science officer, a Vulcan (but not Spock), tries to 'beam up' to the Enterprise.  There is a transporter malfunction and a horrific scream, as we watch the Vulcan science officer transform into a blob of protoplasm.  Well, that's what my 2nd try at cavatelli looked like.  :-)




Did a bit a thinking….my logs were too thick, and they were not dry enough.  So I bisected each one, and let them sit and dry for about half an hour.



I tried again.  Success.  I also jettisoned the baking dish, and just let them fall onto the countertop.



I floured them well, and tossed them onto a baking sheet.

 
 
They're now drying, ready to be cooked and eaten for dinner.  Yum!



My friend Mark in Florida, whom I taught to make potato gnocchi by hand, and who seems to have fallen in love with the gnocchi lifestyle, will be terribly jealous now.  That's OK.  When he comes to visit next time, I'll feed him nothing but gnocchi and cavatelli.  :-)

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