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Know Gnocchi?

January 16th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

Don’t know gnocchi??- say no-keee or nyawk-eee…. may I suggest taking the time to get to know these delicious, quick and wonderful little pillows of potato dough.

You can make gnocchi from scratch and recipes are all over the Internets to those who choose to undertake the project. I made gnocchi absolutely eons ago, long before anyone even knew what blogging or the internet was, or even, really what gnocchi was. I don’t think they were all that good. I wasn’t all that good then either. So let’s fast forward.

I’ve read over recipe after recipe for handmade gnocchi and quite frankly, I’m not that interested in making them from scratch. It’s one of those labor-intensive recipes that seems easy enough but can be fraught with problems. I love to cook without issues, besides, when the grocer carries a perfectly acceptable brand of shelf-stable gnocchi that tastes wonderful and is a snap to put together for a meal, for what reason would I sweat over a bowl of floured cooked potato if I don’t have to? Right. I’m glad you agree.

The current issue of Eating Well magazine, my most favorite of all the food publications out there, had a very eye-catching recipe for gnocchi and I just had to try it. I knew it wouldn’t appeal to the little carnivore, but quite frankly, this was one of those meals I wanted no matter what. With plenty of leftovers in the fridge, it worked out fine.

Gnocchi is made from cooked potato that is mixed with flour, usually semolina, and sometimes bread crumbs. Gnocchi comes from the word nocchio, loosely translating to ‘knot in the wood’ and has been a traditional Italian offering since the time of the Romans. It is available in all it’s regional forms throughout Italy, although the potato version is considered to be the most recent, ever since the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.

Behold the gnocchi……from this

gnocchi-004

To this…..

gnocchi-009

In about 20 minutes.

And it was all I could do not to eat all of it. This is definitely on the repeat list for us. It was amazingly good.

Gnocchi In a Flash
adapted from the February Eating Well magazine
For the orginal recipe, go <HERE>

1 pkg shelf stable gnocchi
2-3 boneless chicken breasts, cut to strips
1 medium red pepper, cored and seeded, cut to strips
1 bunch spinach, washed and de-stemmed* (equal to a 10-oz bag)
1/4 c. canned diced tomato with italian seasonings
1/2 c. fresh mozzarella, cut into small dice
1/3 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil to garnish

Season chicken breast strips with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet, add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until strips are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to bowl. Add red pepper and cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Add to chicken. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and add about a teaspoon of oil. When hot, add gnocchi and cook about 5 minutes until browned and slightly puffy. Add chicken and pepper to pan, and in bunches, add in spinach, stirring quickly until it’s all wilted. Toss in diced tomato and mozzarella cubes and shave some parmesan over the top. Stir to mix and allow to cook for 3 minutes or so until hot. Serve immediately topped with fresh basil.

KATE’S NOTES:
The chicken is completely optional in this. Truthfully, it was an attempt to get Griffin to try some. He did, but didn’t like it. The original recipe has no meat in it, but it does have white beans. And no red pepper. I think this version is stellar.

The original recipe called for the entire can of diced seasoned tomato. For whatever reason, I just spooned in a few tablespoons and it was perfect. The rest can be frozen in a baggie for another use.

*A word on fresh greens, like the spinach; I always buy greens by the head. I don’t buy the bags of them at all- too expensive and chemically washed, plus they just don’t last as long-  and some markets around me carry the ‘live’ lettuce heads with a root ball attached. They are cheap, mixed and wonderful. I clean the greens as soon as I can after getting them home and place them, wrapped in wet paper towels, in a plastic bag in the drawer of the fridge. They keep for up to a week for the more tender leaf varieties like spinach or field greens, and longer for heartier leaves like bok choy or romaine. Remove any wilted leaves if you notice them.

5 Responses to “Know Gnocchi?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Your gnocchi looks great. I love a good gnocchi when I get it.

  2. Lily says:

    YUM!!! Maybe I’ll go grab some from World Market… who knows? It’ll probably be on clearance… :(

  3. I love gnocchi – I just don’t make it – lol. I’ll do the frozen kind or the vacuum packed kind in a second – lol. It’s about the sauce for me – lol.

  4. Jamie says:

    Kate, your gnocchi are beautiful! I only tried them once years ago and they were a miserable failure. I’ll try your recipe because hubby and I love them. The photos of your success are very encouraging.

  5. Katie says:

    Is it weird that I LOVE potato, but hate gnocchi?
    Having said that, the dish looks really tasty. The tips for the greens is good because I tend to avoid buying fresh because everything seems to die on me rather quickly! :)