The blog of a doctor, a baker, a wisdom tooth taker!
My “Must Make Soon” list grows longer as each day whizzes past and I rather hate to admit things often get taken off as they’ve sat so long on it, I’ve lost the enthusiasm to cook them. It’s not intentional. In fact my intentions would see any Domestic Goddess proud. I blame my very typical Piscean genes. You see, I’m a big dreamer, a hopeless romantic whom wears her heart on her sleeve. Lost in daydreams of faraway places is where you will find me any given day, any given place I happen to be. Passionate and enthusiastic to the point of obsturdity about things which have won my heart are also to blame for the languishing on the lust list for a great many things in my life, fabulous recipes all too often being permanent residents! Homemade gnocchi had almost reached the point of no return until this week when I took the plunge upon getting home at a very decent hour and having cleaned the kitchen to health inspector standards before I started. I was ready to create! So I did!…
I began with roasting some veg to bulk out the dish – courgette and aubergine, rescued from the refrigerator equivalent of my languishing lust list – the occasional drawer of no return (aka the veg box!). Chunky was what I felt like going with but do feel free to chop as you please. It’s all about personal tastes with a dish like this.
Whilst a pristine white snowman tummy of a mound of ricotta sat in a muslin lined sieve to extract excess moisture, I gently sautéed onions, celery, a bay leaf and garlic in some olive oil until aromatic and softened then I bubbled down some rich red wine to give depth to the sauce before pouring in a couple of canned tomatoes. They were diluted with almost a full can’s worth of water swished around each empty tomato tin to capture every last bit. I then went Simon and Garfunkel on its ass and tipped in parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (Before you wonder, no I’m not so old that I remember S&G the first time around – my dad is like me and once he loves a certain album, he will listen to it almost forever more and the dulcet tones of the 70s duo are quite the soundtrack to my very earliest childhood memories).
For all my love of beautiful kitchen gadgets like my Candy Apple, there is something so… primal, basic, refreshing about beating a bowlful of ingredients with a wooden spoon until they combine into a supple, soft dough. Do feel free as a ’70′s groovster and add in more flour as required to bind the mixture. It’s all about feeling the texture and going with your instinct. Here I would like to mention the foodie friend whom gave me the recipe I’m sharing with you all today – a lass called Graziella whom makes the most incredible, interesting, healthful and stunningly presented meals for her boys everyday. Plus she is a totally naturally gifted food photographer – I sigh wistfully at the ease with which she seems to exude with each and every delight that wings it’s way out of her kitchen into our foodie circle in photo form. My tweaks to the recipe are adding mustard powder as an extra depth of seasoning (I almost always add it to my white sauces), using a whole egg as I don’t like to waste half of one and finally, to half the recipe. We had a mountain of gnocchi as it was!
Living where I do in England, the light isn’t always favourable to the full time employed foodie blogger whom can only photograph her recipes after work. So I decided to embrace it for this post and actually, I think it conveys the cosy, snugness of my kitchen after 5pm at this time of the year. I love it. I do still have my icicle fairy lights up behind me to cook in their twinkly ice blue light.
This is a mela which requires time to prepare but it’s constituent steps are very simple. Once we reach this stage it’s an assembly job waiting to happen. Plop those gnocchi into the biggest pot of bubbling water you have and wait maybe only seconds for them to rock and roll up to the surface, signalling they are ready. If we ignore the hour we’ve pottered around the kitchen before this moment, we have truly fast, healthy food
Creamy white gnocchi bums (as Hungry Hubby calls them), meet my rugged, rich vegetable sauce. Get to know one another under a thin topping of cheese. I used one with real panache – a new tangy sharp Red Leicester, I do love English hard cheeses and how quaint it seems that they are named after their founding counties. Of course, you may feel there is enough cheese in these darling little dumplings and go with the sauce alone. Or perhaps you fancy draped with a fresh pesto. Or roasting some pumpkin with sage and butter and stirring into the naked gnocchi. Perhaps you have a go to tomato sauce you love and adore. That’s perfect. Use that. Just give these gnocchi a chance.
So a giant thank you to Graziella for graciously sharing her recipe. I would think these gnocchi would freeze very well but they were so delicious (Hubby loves a good gnocchi ) that we ate them all for dinner the first night then lunch the next day! So they did not have chance to get to know my brand new freezer. If you try, do please let me know how you go!
Get the recipe here – Ricotta Gnocchi