Gnocchi. I understand now why you can buy it frozen. Who would want to go through the pain and heartbreak? Oh. Except for the fact that it's freakin delicious, even when it's melting on your spoon.
This is what epicurious.com has to say about gnocchi:
Italian for "dumplings," gnocchi can be made from potatoes, flour or farina. Eggs or cheese can be added to the dough, and finely chopped spinach is also a popular addition. Gnocchi are generally shaped into little balls, cooked in boiling water and served with butter and Parmesan or a savory sauce. The dough can also be chilled, sliced and either baked or fried. Gnocchi are usually served as a side dish and make excellent accompaniments for meat or poultry.
© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
Oh sure, just shape them into little balls, boil, then toss with Parmesan. Trust me, it's a tad more complicated than that. I figured that out when I noticed that JO's directions mentioned having to do it a few times before getting it right. Turns out that I'm not that bad though!
Here's the recipe:
6 medium potatoes (I used Russet)
1/2 a nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp. and it was too much, next time I'll use only 1/4 tsp.)
sea salt and ground pepper
1 large egg yolk
1-2 handfuls of all purpose flour
semolina flour (I ended up using cornmeal because I was out of semolina)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Rub the potatoes with olive oil, prick them with a fork and lay them in a roasting tray. Bake for an hour or so, or until the potatoes are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. (I baked mine 1h15m.) Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes and then, while they are still hot, use a dish towel to pick them up one at a time, cut them in half and carefully scoop out the flesh into your mixer bowl.
Mix until you have a very smooth mashed potato (I used the beater attachment, but you could probably use the whisk as well.)
Add the nutmeg, a tablespoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, the egg yolk and enough flour to bind it together. I ended up using about 3 tbsp. of flour.
Mix, then knead with your hands (unfortunately you can't get the stand mixer to do this for you) until you have a dry dough.
To get the hang of perfect gnocchi dough, you'll have to practice a few times. If you're unsure, try testing one by chucking it into some boiling water - if it falls apart, add a bit more flour.
I did have boiling water, and found that really useful for keeping me on track. It seems like a lot of work, but it's better than wasting a bunch of ingredients!
Divide your dough into three, then roll into a sausage.
Cut each sausage into 1 inch pieces. Place on a bed of semolina flour, then put in the fridge to set 10-20 minutes.
Once set, boil some salted water, and chuck them in! They take about 4 minutes to cook, they're done when they float. Be careful when you take them out. Keep in mind that they are little balls of mashed potato, you need to be gentle or they'll fall apart.
I cooked mine with some mushrooms that I sautéed.
Flippin' delish. The kiddo was a super fan too! Though I had forgotten to take his portion out prior to adding the red pepper flakes. Um, yeah, that didn't go over so well, but he was a trooper and just kept eating yogurt in between bites.
While the whole process takes a while, gnocchi is actually relatively easy to make. I won't be adding it onto the weekly menu, but I'll probably make it monthly. One of the best parts of staying at home with the kiddo is that I have the time to do this kind of thing. Once the second one comes along this blog will be full of grilled cheese and tomato soup.