Homemade Saffron Gnocchi

Homemade Saffron Gnocchi

So what does International Women’s Day and homemade saffron gnocchi have in common? Well, if you have ever visited Italy on this day, this dish may remind you of the mimosa spring that is given to women to celebrate March 8th,, La Festa delle Donne. All throughout Italy, you’ll find this lovely yellow blossom handed to women as a symbol of love, appreciation and when given woman to woman, as a sign of solidarity.

This lovely Italian tradition inspired me to create a dish that resembles the mimosa. Cooking a homemade meal is my favorite way to show a gesture of my love, so dear readers, this mimosa dish is for you.This is my gesture of solidarity and admiration towards women. We are stronger today than ever before, we love to share and give, we love to create, we love to cultivate and we especially love to grow. We’re like these fluffy gnocchi: simple in nature, good and each piece, is one of a kind. 

Homemade saffron gnocchi is a simple and genuine dish to make for your special group of friends. 100% handmade. In every bite your friends get a taste of your love. Here’s to equality for women, not just once a year, but every day.

Homemade Saffron Gnocchi
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Total time
Homemade saffron gnocchi is a simple and genuine dish to make for your special group of friends to celebrate International Women’s Day. 100% handmade. In every bite your friends get a taste of your love. Here’s to equality for women, not just once a year, but every day.
Serves: 4-6
  • For the gnocchi:
  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) potatoes suitable for gnocchi
  • 1½ to 2½ cups (150-300g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • For the saffron sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter
  • 8oz (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  1. Wash the potatoes with their skins on. Drop them into a large pot, fill with cold water, then bring them to boil over medium-high heat until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain. While hot, peel them then pass them through a potato masher, letting them fall onto a large floured workspace.
  2. In a small cup, add the hot water and saffron threads. Allow them to infuse for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add half of the flour, a few pinches of salt and work the flour and potatoes together. Make a well and add the egg and continue kneading the mixture, adding little by little more flour until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough into a large loaf, then cut into slices like you would a loaf of bread. Roll out each slice into a small looking bread stick, making sure to use a small amount of flour so it doesn’t stick to the work surface. Slice into small pieces. For regular gnocchi, you can cook right away or roll off the tins of a fork to create marks or for festive gnocchi that look like the mimosa flower, a symbol of  La Festa della Donne or Women’s Day, roll each piece into a ball.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  5. In the meantime, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the heavy cream. Add the infused saffron water (you can also filter the water if you don’t want saffron threads to show), salt and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Salt the water with 1-2 tablespoons of coarse salt and add the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi float to the top;1-2 minutes. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water, and add the gnocchi to the skillet. Add a spoonful or two of cooking water. Mix until the sauce is the right consistency and remove from heat. Serve warm with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Buon appetito!

Homemade Spinach Pasta with Kale Pesto, Leeks and Almonds

Homemade Spinach Pasta with Kale Pesto, Leeks and Almonds

If you want a delicious and healthy recipe to start of this new year, then look no longer. This spinach pasta with kale pesto, shaved leeks and toasted almonds is packed with simple genuine goodness.
Homemade-Spinach Pasta-with-Kale- Pesto-Leeks-and- Almonds-1If you like basil pesto, you are going to love this kale pesto. This creamy, green yumminess compliments this homemade spinach pasta or is perfect with any pasta you have on hand. I also love using kale pesto to drizzle over my poached eggs in the morning or add flavor to baked fish for dinner. Another great way to use this pesto is to simply mix it into grains like quinoa, farro or brown rice for a mouthwatering salad. The options are endless and it’s so easy to make: just add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and whiz away. It’s that simple.

Talking about food that is simple, so is homemade pasta! While any flour can be used, I’ve used a delicious ancient grain Einkorn flour that has more protein, less gluten that modern flours and has a delicious nutty flour.

Homemade-Spinach Pasta-with-Kale- Pesto-Leeks-and- Almonds-2I’ve made a lot of pasta the past few weeks at cooking demos with Smeg USA, in Vancouver, Canada at Hudson’s Bay Company and in San Francisco at Bloomingdales and Williams-Sonoma.   Being that Smeg has a 1950’s line of appliances, I decided to dress the part. What do you think?

Hudson Bay


Williams-SonomaI’ll be making this recipe along with my homemade beet pasta recipe on the Friday morning show at 8:10 on Krem 2 News on channel 22. I will also be showing how to make these recipes during two cooking classes at:

The Culinary Stone in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Saturday, 28th (3:30-5:30pm) Sold Out

Sunday, 29th from 1:00-3:00pm.

You can call the store at 1-208-277-4116 to reserve your spot. If you’re in the area, I would love to meet you in person and show you just how easy these recipes are…and of course, give you a taste! Hope to see you soon! You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram!

Homemade Spinach Pasta with Kale Pesto, Leeks and Almonds
Learn how to make an easy homemade spinach pasta and a delicious kale pesto topped with leeks and almonds! Fresh, simple and healthy.
Serves: 4 to 6
  • For the green dough:
  • 4 large eggs (around 65g, 2.3 ounces each)
  • 1.4oz (40g) spinach
  • 3 cups (14oz, 400g) organic Einkorn flour (or flour of choice), plus more for rolling out
  • 2 pinches salt
  • For the kale pesto:
  • 1 cup olive oil + more if needed to arrive at the consistency desired
  • 3 cups (65g) torn Tuscan kale leaves (no stems)
  • ½ clove garlic, skin removed
  • ⅓ cup (35g) walnuts
  • 1½ cups (60g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese + more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • For the topping:
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced in julienne strips
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  1. For the dough:
  2. Add the eggs and spinach to a container and blend with a handheld immersion mixer for 10 seconds. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and add the flour, salt and egg/spinach mixture. Mix on speed 1 for 4-5 minutes until the mixture comes together as a ball, adding a spoonful of water at a time if needed or extra flour if the dough is sticky. Alternatively knead by hand for 15 minutes. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Attach the pasta roller accessory to the stand mixer. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, press them into flat rectangles and flour each side. Keep them covered with plastic wrap. Pass one of the pieces through the machine on speed 1 on no.0. Fold the ends towards each other and pass it through again. Continue to pass the dough through, reducing the thickness from no. 0 to 5. Alternatively roll out with a rolling pin.
  4. Let the past sheets dry for 10 minutes on a floured work space. Attach the fettuccine accessory and run one sheet through on speed 1. Continue with the rest. Flour the fettuccine ribbons well so they don’t stick together. Alternatively, cut the rolled doll into ribbons.
  5. For the sauce and toppings:
  6. Add the the extra virgin olive oil, kale, garlic, walnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to a blender or food processor in that order. Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed to get to a slightly runny consistency. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  7. In a large skillet, add the leeks and ¼-1/2 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until soft and the water has absorbed; 15-20 minutes.
  8. Put the chopped almonds in a small skillet, toast over medium heat until slightly golden stirring often; 3-4 minutes.
  9. For the pasta:
  10. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of course salt. Add the fresh pasta and cook al dente, about 2-4 minutes. Reserve ¼ pasta water. Drain.
  11. In the meantime add the kale pesto to a large skillet along with the reserved pasta water. Simmer until the pasta is ready. Pour the pasta into the skillet and toss to coat. Divide the pasta on the plates and top with leeks, toasted almonds and additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if desired. Serve immediately. Buon appetito!
  12. Conservation & Cooking Times:
  13. Immediate consumption: If you’re cooking your pasta immediately spread the noodles out on a work space making sure they are well floured. Cooking time: 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness.
  14. Short term consumption: If you are making pasta 1-2 days in advance, let the noodles dry in nests. Allow the freshly cut noodles to dry for 10-20 minutes, then wrap approximately 5-10 strands around your hand to form a nest and slide it off on a plate with a floured dishtowel or parchment paper. Repeat without stacking. Store covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days max. Cooking time: 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness.
  15. Long term consumption: {Freezing} Let the freshly cut noodles dry for 10 minutes, then wrap approximately 5-10 strands around your hand to form a nest and slide it off on a plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat without stacking. Pop this plate in the freezer for 30 minutes until firm so the nests won’t stick together then remove and stack the nests in a freezer bag or air sealed container for easy storage. Consume within 2-3 months. Cooking time: 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness. Frozen pasta does not need to be thawed before it is cooked. {Drying} Follow the instructions for the short term consumption, but allow the nests to dry completely at room temperature for 2-3 days (depending on the humidity.) Be sure to flip over the nests 2-3 times per day to make sure that the air can reach all parts of the pasta. Store in plastic bags in a cool, dark place. Consume within 4-5 months. Cooking time: 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness. Do not air dry stuffed pasta.

Fresh Pasta with Beet Sauce

Fresh Pasta with Beet Sauce

There are two ways to make colored pasta. The first is to have a very colorful sauce that changes the pasta’s color completely. The second way, is to add in various purees, spices, herbs or other natural colorings when making the dough. Although you see photos for the pink pasta I would suggest making just a normal colored fresh pasta since the color will turn pink regardless thanks to the beet sauce! 

Here’s a 30 second time lapse video of me in my italicana kitchen making three types of homemade pasta and sauces (all recipes to come!) You can pop on over to my youtube channel for more videos. 

Oh man, this recipe is a winner. It’s quite the pleasant surprise for even the pickiest of eaters. For example, my dad, a steak and potatoes kind of guy, LOVED this fresh pasta with beet sauce topped with roasted Brussels sprouts, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Then there is Mr. Italicano who snubs any recipe made with beets, yet devoured a whole plate of this pasta before I could relay to him the main ingredient. Um. Yah. It’s that good.

beet-colored-pasta-4Apart from it’s utter deliciousness, it’s also festive—look at those vibrant colors! I mean, who doesn’t like to wow their dinner party guests with stunning dishes at Thanksgiving or Christmas? So to recap: it’s super yum, it’s downright beautiful, but I still haven’t even told you the best part: CONTINUE READING

How to Make Gnocchi

How to Make Gnocchi

Making gnocchi is easy to do; making great gnocchi is hard. There are many factors that could make your 4 ingredient recipe go awry. Luckily I have some tips and tricks straight from my Italian mother-in-law, Patrizia, that will make your gnocchi melt in your mouth every time.


3 Tips for Making Great Gnocchi  READ MORE

Roasted Brussels Sprout Pasta

Roasted Brussels Sprout Pasta

A Brussels sprout side dish is usually a staple on the holiday table, but have you tried them tossed with pasta and other roasted vegetables :: verdure arrostite? If not, you are in for a treat. And, no, these aren’t boiled and mushy, but delectable crunchy slivers of goodness.

Roasted-Brussels-Sprout-Pasta-1In Italy, usually no family Sunday lunch or holiday meal is served without a bowl of pasta as a first course. In fact, Sunday lunches and holiday meals are a CONTINUE READING

Farro Tagliatelle with Shrimp and Fava Bean Pesto

Farro Tagliatelle with Shrimp and Fava Bean Pesto

Farro Tagliolini with Shrimp and Fava Bean PestoFava beans, or broad beans, are in season :: in stagione in Italy, and I just can’t get enough of them! You can add them to vegetable stews like this Scafata recipe, you can puree the heck out of them to make a delicious fava bean and avocado dip or you can give them a short twirl in the blender and create a healthy chunky pesto that you can eat with crackers, toss it into a pasta dish or do like Mr. Italicano and gobble down spoonfuls straight from the jar.

Farro Tagliolini with Shrimp and Fava Bean PestoIn some recipes I keep the fava bean skins :: le bucce on to add texture, in this recipe I shucked them so that the creaminess of the fava beans had a moment in the spotlight. Oh, boy did they shine. Straight out of Mr. Italicano’s mouth came the words, “This is so f$&*@!*$ buona.” This time, I didn’t scold him for cursing and instead beamed him a smile, happy to receive his mixed Italian/English compliment.

Farro Tagliolini with Shrimp and Fava Bean PestoHomemade pasta is really easy to make, especially if you have a stand mixer :: un’impastatrice. It may seem daunting or difficult, but it’s not. It takes just a few minutes in the stand mixer, 1/2 hour rest time in the fridge and 15 minutes to roll it out and cut the desired shape. Unlike dried pastas where the cooking time is often from 10-18 minutes, fresh pastas only need a few minutes in a pot of boiling salty water. It’s probably quicker to make your own at home than battle the traffic and check out counter lines to buy a bag of dried pasta and a sauce filled with preservatives. Bam. You can impress someone with homemade fresh pasta and a delicious healthy pesto even on a weeknight.

(For those of you who simply can’t be bothered to make the pasta, use the store bought kind, but at least try making the fava bean pesto below…trust me, it’s dynamite! You can also easily make this into a vegetarian pasta dish by omitting the shrimp.)

Farro Tagliatelle with Shrimp and Fava Bean Pesto
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Impress someone with this delicious homemade farro tagliatelle pasta and fava bean pesto. They'll think you are Italian!
Serves: 4-5
  • For the Farro Tagliatelle:
  • 1¾ cups (210g) whole grain farro
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (90g) durum wheat semolina
  • 3 large eggs (2.2-2.4 ounces each)
  • 2 pinches unrefined salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • For the Fava Bean Pesto:
  • 14 oz (400g) fava beans
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 handful parsley
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • A few dashes of sweet paprika
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • For the shrimp:
  • 20 shrimp or prawns
  • A few dashes of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  1. For detailed instructions on how to make homemade pasta with photos, check out this post. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and add the flours, eggs, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Mix on speed 1 for a few minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time, if needed, until it comes together in a ball. Stop the mixer and push against the dough with your finger. If it leaves an imprint (like a ripe peach) and doesn’t stick to your finger, it’s ready. If the dough, however, is sticky turn the stand mixer back on and gradually add a little more flour, stopping every so often to check the consistency until it no longer sticks to your finger.
  2. If don’t have a stand mixer, follow the same procedure but knead by hand until the dough is homogenous, leaves an imprint when poked and isn’t sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into two balls and wrap each one individually with some plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, make the fava bean pesto.
  5. Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add the fava beans and cook them for a few minutes. Run them under cold water and shuck their outer skin. Put the inside bean in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano, paprika, salt, pepper and a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil. Blend everything together, adding in more olive oil until it because a think chunky sauce.
  6. Attach the pasta roller accessory and sprinkle some flour on top. Divide each ball into two pieces (four pieces total), shape them into flat rectangles and flour generously on top and bottom. Pass one of the pieces through the machine on speed 1. Fold it back over on itself, and pass it through again. Repeat one more time before moving on to the next level of thickness. Pass the dough several times reducing the thickness from no. 0 to 5.
  7. Generously flour a large wooden board and lay the pasta sheets on top as you roll them out.
  8. If you are rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, it will be easier to divide the dough into two pieces and roll each one out on a generously floured wooden board. The dough should be rolled out thin enough that when you hold the dough up against a light you can see the light almost pass through.
  9. Roll each side of the pasta sheet towards the center. Even off the ends with a knife but don’t throw away these scraps, you can stick them in the middle of the little pasta nests.
  10. Use the stand mixer tagliatelle pasta device to cut them to the right size (or another shape of pasta). If you don’t have the pasta device, slice the noodles so that they are about ¼ inch.
  11. Lay out the pasta ribbons on a generously floured board. Take a small handful in one hand and roll them around your fingers as if you were rolling up a cord.
  12. When all of the pasta has been loosely wrapped around your fingers, gently set it down on the floured board. These little clusters of pasta are called “nidi” in Italian, or “nests”, since they resemble bird nests. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  13. Bring a medium pot of water to boil; add course salt then dump the tagliatelle inside. Cook for 2-3 minutes then check one to see if one is ready. The pasta should be “al dente” or slightly firm. If it is not ready, continue to cook for 1 minute and check again.
  14. In a medium skilled at the extra virgin olive oil, white wine, shrimp and a few dashes of sweet paprika. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat or until the shrimp are no longer transparent. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  15. Drain the pasta reserving a cupful of the water. Add the pasta to the shrimp along with the fava bean pesto. Stir well, adding a few spoonfuls of cooking water if needed to thin the sauce.
  16. Conservation:
  17. The uncooked tagliatelle can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 day max, or you can freeze them. The best way to store them in the freezer is to put them on a cookie sheet so that they are not touching. Tuck them in the freezer until frozen, otherwise they will stick together, then you can place them in plastic bags, one on top of the other and take out the quantity you want as needed.


cindy swain NYC

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I'm in New York City right now, doing Cooking Show at Eataly Downtown, Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle and Bloomingdale's 59th. All of these events are offerd by Smeg USA. Come join me or subscribe to my newsletter to stay up-to-date on my Cooking Shows and enjoy my new recipes delivered directly to your inbox!

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