Monday, March 11, 2013


March Break has arrived in all its wet, wet glory. I should be happy to see grass and sunshine and hear birds singing while I walk to work, but my palate hasn't adjusted. This weekend our Sunday dinner came down to one of two choices: Rockwell Bake (basically turkey strata) or gnocchi. Yup, my body is still craving cold weather meals, despite this (likely brief) respite from Winter weather. I decided to go with making gnocchi, since I've had my eye on Smitten Kitchen's recipe since receiving the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for my birthday. I was once intimidated by gnocchi (well, all home-made pasta, actually) but there is something about SK that gives me confidence to accept new culinary challenges. So Sunday I discovered just how easy it is to make gnocchi.
Gnocchi is one of those dishes that you will love because it takes a few simple ingredients and turns them in to gold. You start by baking some (russet) potatoes. I baked three, for an hour in a 450 degree oven. After they came out of the oven I let the potatoes sit for a bit, then I pierced the skins with a sharp knife and they practically slid off. After letting them cool I grated the potatoes on the large side of a box grater, then let them cool again. To the (cooled) grated potato you add a bit of salt, a beaten egg and then slowly begin to incorporate flour. I ended up using the full amount of flour suggested by SK, along with a bit extra sprinkled on the counter when I was shaping the dough. My gnocchi were not pretty, but after going into a pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then being drizzled with a very light tomato broth and some Parmesan cheese, I didn't much care how they looked. Because they tasted amazing. 

And as a bonus, dinner felt like an accomplishment, somehow. Even though it was quite easy to make gnocchi, I feel like I've joined some kind of special club. After feeding the four of us (Okay - maybe two of us. Half of us weren't all that excited about gnocchi.) I ended up with a large freezer bag full of gnocchi to save for another day. Which is great, because chances are we'll have another blast or two of Winter weather before the end of March (or even April!). And when that happens, I'll be ready. Because gnocchi isn't really a light, welcome Spring kind of meal. But as a comfort food, a 'hunker down because yes it's still cold and everyone else is on vacation but soon, soon it will be your turn for a break and some sunshine' meal, it's kind of perfect. 

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