Gnocchi alla boscaiola

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to a bakery in town to have cappuccinos and pastries one Saturday morning. A few minutes later after sitting down a couple friend of ours came strolling in. They were dressed in very casual clothes that I had never seen them in before. We asked them what they were up to and they replied with telling us they had plans to go into the belora forest to find some porcini mushrooms. I had no idea people did this, especially our friends! I was very intrigued. We changed our clothes and joined them for the fun.

Because it was the middle of October the floor was covered in leaves which made it quite difficult to spot the brown-rounded tops of the funghi porcini  on the forest floor. Our two friends were much more experienced than us but we got the hang of it just fine. After about three hours frolicking through the trees with our walking sticks in hand, we finally called it quits. The result was fantastic because we all had incredible luck! Our basket was full of delizioso porcini mushrooms and our friend Federico even found a couple of bubbole mushrooms. (the thin stemmed white mushroom pictured) I had no prior knowledge of mushrooms and what kind are okay to eat and what are not but luckily our friends did.

Conversation came up about how we would enjoy these beauties; I would make gnocchi with a porcini and sausage cream sauce gnocchi alla boscaiola for dinner that night and we would make an impromptu dinner party. People that know me well know that I am a major fan of entertaining so I was thrilled with the decision and also very flattered that they would trust me (the American girl) with making the meal!

Serving size; 6 
For the gnocchi;
6 small potatoes boiled and riced potate novelle 
2 eggs
2 cups flour 
olive oil

For the sauce;
3 Italian sausages 
2 + 1/2 cups chopped porcini mushrooms
200 ml Chef Panna cream sauce ( my favorite brand to use because it's very creamy and smooth)
salt and pepper 

Fill a large pot of water, large pinch of salt and add your potatoes. Bring potatoes to a boil for 10-12 minutes until tender. Rice the potatoes and place on a well floured working surface. Add the two eggs and flour (a little at a time) to the riced potatoes and start handling it enough so that it becomes less sticky to handle. You might have to add a little more flour as you go but the less flour, the better texture. In the end it should feel semi firm to the touch. Try not work with it too much or your gnocchi will be hard. Cut the dough in eight sections and start to roll each piece into a long strip, about 1/2 inch wide. Cut them evenly into 1/4-1/2 pieces. Heat a large pot of water.

For the sauce lightly oil a large saucepan with olive oil and break the Italian sausage into bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped porcini pieces and sauté for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Last but definitely not least, add the cream sauce. If you don't have access to Chef Panna then you can use any plain cream based sauce. Season with salt and cracked pepper. 

Once your large pot of water is boiling add a good pinch of salt and add your gnocchi pieces. Fresh gnocchi only takes a few minutes to cook and when they float to the top they are finished. Take a slotted spoon and place them in the porcini and sausage cream sauce. Coat all the gnocchi and serve. As for the bubbole mushrooms Federico found, I sautéed them with a little olive oil and sage and seasoned with salt and pepper. My mouth is watering just thinking about how wonderful this meal was. 

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