a personal challenge: potato gnocchi

I have always been intimidated by the kitchen. Even now, at times, I’ll see a recipe and feel a queasy sensation starting in the pit of my stomach if it looks a bit too long, a tad too complicated. You know the recipes I’m talking about – the ones that are so long that they carry over to the next page, or the ones labeled “intermediate” on the Food Network website.  Thoughts of “I can’t do that” start creeping back in my mind.

I have to confess – it wasn’t until recently that I’ve started learning my place in the kitchen. It doesn’t seem to come naturally to me the way it does for a lot of people. Over time, though, things are starting to make sense. It’s hard to explain how liberating it felt the first time I took the risk of not following a recipe exactly the way it was written…and it turned out fine! That was a great discovery, and I’m continuing to work on being more creative with my cooking. It’s a journey, but an exciting one to take.

Along this path to culinary wisdom, I’ve set some little challenges for myself. Making potato gnocchi was one of these hurdles that I was determined to overcome.  So, one day when I had an entire Saturday afternoon to myself, I did it. I made gnocchi. As it turns out, the process wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I had built it up to be. In fact, it was a lot of fun. My technique could seriously be improved, but those gnocchi tasted darn good. I felt pretty proud of myself.

One challenge down, many more to go.

P.S. Shortly after making the gnocchi, I read about my friend Jennie’s experience making gnocchi. After reading her post, I almost couldn’t write this. Her little gnocchi were just so beautiful and perfect. She is definitely my pasta hero.

Yield: Serves 6.

Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

2 pounds whole baking potatoes
2 beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 cup flour
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes in several places and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half. Working in batches, scoop hot flesh into potato ricer or food mill. Rice potatoes onto rimmed baking sheet and cool slightly.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare a work area and dust it with flour.

Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add the flour, toss to coat. Form a well in the center of the potato mixture. Add the egg yolks, salt, and nutmeg. Stir with fork until the mixture is evenly moistened and mixture looks shaggy.

Turn the mixture out onto the lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until it comes together, sprinkling dough with flour very lightly only if dough is sticky. Form dough into ball; divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece between hands and work surface into 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork or your fingertip, press lightly into each gnocchi, making an indentation in the pasta.

At this point, you can freeze the gnocchi by placing them into the freezer spread out on a baking sheet dusted with flour or lined with wax paper. Once frozen, place the gnocchi in a freezer bag. To cook them, place the frozen gnocchi into simmering water (next step).
Working in batches, cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water. Continue to simmer gnocchi until cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally, until they rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl. Serve with your favorite warm pasta sauce.

Recipe blended and adapted from Elise Bauer's recipe here on Simply Recipes and from the Bon Apètit recipe from February 2010.


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10 Responses to “shrimp risotto with peas”

  1. Lovely looking risotto. Never thought you could do this in a pressure cooker – I’ve actually tried it in a slow cooker and it came out pretty good. Love the colours and flavours in this!

  2. trissalicious — March 19, 2010 @ 5:36 am

    Wow! You are superwoman – you manage to juggle all of those things and still maintain a blog and make really yummy food!

    • merrygourmet replied: — March 19th, 2010 @ 8:19 am

      I may just be overambitious. Or crazy. Or need medication. 🙂

  3. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — March 19, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    What a beautiful recipe! I love all these flavours and it is very spring like!

  4. James — March 21, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    Wow, this looks so delicious. Bookmarking this one for sure.

  5. Stephanie — March 23, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    Your Twitter updates crack me up — You sound like a very busy woman! Thanks for the risotto recipe — I bought a box of arborio rice at Trader Joes and it’s been sitting in my pantry waiting for the right recipe to come along. I think this is it!

    • merrygourmet replied: — March 23rd, 2010 @ 7:17 am

      I love risotto – it’s such a great meal. I always keep a box of arborio rice on hand since I never know when the craving for risotto will hit. Hope you enjoy!

  6. Monica — April 14, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

    My kids and husband all loved this recipe when I tried it out last night. I used a riesling like you suggested (partly because I really like drinking a riesling!). I did make one little change. I did not have any dried red pepper flakes, so I used a dash of cayenne. Just enough for a hint –not too much that the kids noticed. Yummy, yummy:)

  7. Pingback: Meal Plan: Simple Recipes to Help You Cook from the Pantry | Mom it Forward

  8. Bliss — March 15, 2017 @ 8:09 pm

    Just got done making and eating this dish, my whole famiky loved it.

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