Plantain gnocchi with brown butter Alfredo sauce and fried basil
I wanted to created a meal that reminds me of home but slightly elevated. I grew up in the Caribbean and plantains were a staple in my house, we LOVE them. My preference for eating them is fried, slightly over-ripe, not too soft so when they’re cooked just they keep their form. I know in many cultures they add extras toppings but the simple fried option is my absolute favorite.
Earlier in quarantine I wanted to experiment with creating a gnocchi using my fave. Typically gnocchis are potato based and I figured a simple swap of the potatoes could create an interesting dish. I love Caribbean food because it is the love of my people but I always try to add a twist to it.
I kept the Ingredients to a minimum, threw some things in a bowl and here we are. When I say minimum I mean it, this version of the recipe only calls for 1 very ripe fried plantain, 1 cup of flour and 1 egg. The first version was simply 2 plantains and flour but I discovered that the texture was slightly more dense than you’d want for a gnocchi. The goal of the gnocchi is to get flavor in each bite but you also want it to melt in your mouth with little to no chewing. Not mushy at all, it should be somewhat firm, it’s a very very delicate but delectable balance.
1 ripe fried plantain
1 cup all purpose flour (save 1/4 for dusting the dough rolling surface)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup salted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and red pepper to taste
Plaintain and Basil:
Heat a heavy skillet on high and add olive oil. Slice plantains into 1/2 thick pieces and add to the pan with the basil. Fry well on both sides, you want to get a nice golden color with slight charring. Remove plantains and basil from the pan and set aside on paper towel lined plate.
In a mixing bowl add the plantains and the egg and mix until well blended into a smooth batter. Add the salt to the flour, pour the dry ingredients into the plantain mix. Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Cut the dough into 2 sections and roll into balls. Using your hands roll the dough into a 1” log and cut 1” pieces, you should get about 20 gnocchi. Put a pot of water on to boil.
Using the same skillet from the plantains, drain the extra oil into a container. Add melt butter in over medium heat. This part is delicate, continue to swirl the butter until it starts to brown. Once the butter gets to a medium brown color, lower the heat to low and add in the cream. The pan will sizzle, keep stirring until it subsides. Add in the grated Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted and the sauce has a smooth consistency. Add in salt and pepper, as desired.
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they rise to the top. Remove the gnocchi from pot on a slotted spoon and add them to Alfredo mixture coating them well.
In a pasta bowl add half the gnocchi in the center, drizzle with 1 tbsp Alfredo sauce, sprinkle with fresh shaved Parmesan and add 4 fried basil leaves. Serve hot.
I hope this dish gives you an idea of what my food is about and where my passion is coming from. Enjoy this island escape in your mouth.