Procrastination Cooking: Gnocchi

With graduation quickly approaching, I’ll admit, I’m having a bit of a mental breakdown. My mom keeps calling about plans for commencement weekend, there’s talk of new jobs and apartments, and the only thing standing between me and the real world is one measly paper. It’s freaking me out. The logical thing to do at this point would be to get my paper out of the way, plan a big graduation bash, and enjoy the last cherished weeks of college. But me? I’m digging my heels in. As excited as I truly am about the opportunities that await me in my next stage of life, I’m really gonna miss this place.

So, I decided to cook instead. Playing in the kitchen has long been my procrastination method of choice. Test tomorrow? Time to bake cookies. Internship application deadline coming up? Let’s give risotto a try. With my future knocking, I needed a recipe that would keep my hands busy and my mind occupied, and gnocchi seemed like just the thing.

I’d always wanted to try making gnocchi, but every recipe that I read called for a potato ricer or food mill. I like to thing that I have a fairly well-stocked kitchen artillery for a college student, but lack of the necessary tools left me feeling dejected. Hence my excitement when I came across a method made just for the utensil-oppressed like myself! A post over at Smitten Kitchen assured me that I was not alone, and that I would only need a simple grater to get the job done. As a first-timer, the whole process probably took about three hours, but it was a really fun way to spend a lazy weeknight. Making perfect ridges on the  little potato pillows is not an easy feat, but they tasted delicious all the same. Now that I’m armed with a full stomach, maybe I’ll go start that paper.

Hannah Doolin is a magazine journalism major at Syracuse University. Despite her professional procrastinating skills, she manages to get her homework done while the cookies are baking.


**Recipe**

Gnocchi
Makes 3-4 servings
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and About.com

After cooking the gnocchi, I browned them in a pan with butter and garlic. I would highly recommend this, as it makes them a bit crispy and a little more flavorful.

Ingredients
2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, or until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.

Peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, food mill or grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips. Dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. Knead for about three or four minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and then divide it into 6 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces. You can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. To create the ridges, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.

Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured or parchment-lined dish. If you’d like to freeze them for later use, do so on this tray and once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag. This ensures that you won’t have one enormous gnocchi mass when you are ready to cook them.

To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.

Recipe Index Keywords:

Categories: Campus Cooking and Recipes.
Cooking Method: On the Stove.
Mealtime: Dinner.
I Don't Have Any: Money.
I'm Cooking For...: Dates, Meatless Mondays, Myself, and Winter.
Type of Food: Pasta, Vegetarian, and Vegetarian Main.
I Don't Eat: Dairy and Meat.

Originally posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2012

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