Topic: RC: Salsa di Cetreioli (Cucumber Sauce, for pasta or...)
Author: Jenise
Date: 20040423151724

Directed by a friend to consult meticulously worthy book of and about Italy\'s Friuli region by Fred Plotkin, La Terra Fortunata, in search of the use of dill in Italian cooking, I found a pair of recipes for bread gnocchi and cucumber sauce. I made them last night, finding the gnocchi just so-so but the sauce, fabulous.

I\'ve never had anything like it--had no idea, in fact, what to expect of a cucumber cooked for an hour. Would it still taste like a cucumber? In fact, I was so interested in that aspect that I skipped adding the tablespoon of caraway for fear of masking the cucumber flavor too much--the recipe, which only makes 1 cup and a half of sauce, calls for both it and dill.

I needn\'t have worried, for the cucumber flavor comes through loud and clear. It has a gorgeous, silken texture and beautiful orange color from paprika. I served it with Fred\'s gnocchi which, as I said, I wasn\'t particularly impressed with--they\'re more like matzoh balls than the billowy potato gnocchi most of us are familiar with, and even though I made mine smaller than prescribed I still thought them too heavy so I\'m not including that recipe. IMNSHO, plain pasta or potato gnocchi would be better.

Here\'s the sauce as I made it, serves four:

2 large cucumbers (about 3/4 lb each), peeled, seeded and diced
1 tblsp unsalted butter
1 garlic clove minced
1 small onion minced
1 tblsp sweet paprika
3 tblsp fresh dill or 1 tblsp dried
2 tblsp creme fraiche (or sour cream)

Sprinkle salt over cucumbers and let drain for about an hour. Melt the butter over med heat in heavy bottomed saucepan, add the garlic and onion and saute until soft. Add the cucumber, paprika and dill. Cook over low heat for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally as the cucumber pieces break up. Stir in the creme fraiche and simmer another ten minutes.