Potatoes

My first Gnocchi ever! :3

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Do you know what gnocchi are? Well, if you don’t, you’re not alone, my friends. Actually, I discovered them back in Spain through a dear friend of mine who loves cooking. Turns out, gnocchi are not even that popular in Spain, but they sure are in Italy.

Gnocchi is a kind of fresh pasta made from potato, wheat flour and egg. They are like soft, heavenly little pillows of dough that you boil and season just like regular pasta. Beware, though! Even though these little fellas look cute and harmless, they are way more filling than pasta! That’s why I would never recommend a hearty sauce to go with these: you don’t really need much to make a nice dish out of them, just sautee them with some olive oil or butter, salt & pepper and any seasoning of your liking. Sprinkle in some powdered parmesan or mix them with some nice pesto. You are sure to love them!

Just like regular pasta, homemade gnocchi have the potential of turning your kitchen into a floury battlefield. Fear not, my friends: gnocchi are hearty, yes, but homemade ones come with the post meal workout. See? God has a plan for everything!

Wanna see how I made them?

Ingredients

  • 3 cups boiled potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat flour (+ more for kneading)
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to your heart’s desire

 

Start by boiling the potatoes in a large pot with salted water. Boil until tender, drain and mash. If you have any kind of potato masher, well, I envy you. I do it with a fork because I don’t have anything else, and also because I like hard work and living dangerously.

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Please excuse the bad quality of the pictures. I know you do because you are a very sweet person.

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Next, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Salt and pepper before adding to the potatoes.

(Important: this is the time to season the gnocchi, when you are making the dough. If you don’t season them at this point, they will turn out kinda bland in flavor)

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Add the egg mixture to the potatoes, mix well. The mixture will look creamy and moist. Add the flour and mix. Don’t worry if it looks ugly at first, it will take a few minutes to settle.

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Picture missing: the dough will be soft, but not as moist as to stick everywhere. In other words, you will know it is ready when you can make a ball with it and knead it on a surface with flour. Please note that the recipe is a proportion of 1 cup of flour for every 2 of potatoes, but as any recipe, it will vary: it depends on the size of the egg, too.

Making the shape of the gnocchi is also very easy. Just take a lump of the dough and make a cylinder with it on a floured surface. Cut into pieces and make little pillows. You can give them their signature striped surface with a fork, but I was late and in a hurry and didn’t do it on all of them.

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See how cute they are? Well, they taste even better than they look!

As for storage, either the fridge or the freezer work well. The dough will last 1 to 2 days in the fridge, and up to six months in the freezer. I like to freeze them just as they are in the tray, and then just bag them. Makes my life way easier.

Gnocchi are cooked by being boiled in water like regular pasta. You will know they are done when they float. After you cook them, you can add crispiness and flavor by sautéing them in a large pan with some butter. Then add whatever floats your boat. I love them just with butter, garlic and herbs, pesto genovese or some oil and parmesan. When I make them for my husband, I like to cook them with butter and bits of bacon.

These are the ones I cook for me.

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And these are the ones I cook for him. See how they brown with the butter? It’s so delicious!

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I hope you try them at home. You are sure to love them!

Luscious Broccoli with Cheese on Mashed Potatoes

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This broccoli, friends. THIS BROCCOLI, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL LIVING CREATURES. This is heavenly perfection when it comes steaming right from the oven (and I am not saying that just because I made it, though it kinda is a good reason).

I swear, even though you can serve this as a side dish, just a good serving of this gift of the Gods is a very filling and satisfying dinner. It’s also very quick and easy to make, not to mention cheap. I buy frozen broccoli cuts at Redner’s Warehouse Market for 1 dollar a pound, and I use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking.

Also, my husband also happens to love broccoli. But even if he didn’t, I would still use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking. I love him, but I love broccoli too and I refuse to hide it.

ANYWAY, my friends, let’s make a broccoli so ridiculously great, after you eat it you will have very indecent dreams in which you’ll eat it again. I kid you not.

Ingredients

  • 1 big potato
  • 1/2 lb frozen broccoli
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
  • parmesan flakes
  • italian herbs
  • salt & pepper to taste

Now, please forgive me for not having pictures of the mashed potatoes, I was cooking this other lovely thing and… well, you know. Hungry husband, hungry cats, you get the picture.

Anyways, peel and cut the potato and boil until tender (15 min) in a pot with salted water. Drain and mash on a small bowl, with the butter and cream cheese. Salt and pepper to taste (a sprinkle of garlic powder also gives it a very nice hint!), mix well and reserve.

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In a large pan, saute the broccoli with a little bit of olive oil and enjoy the smell of happiness. Stir and let cook until golden. You can also change the olive oil for a little bit of butter, if that makes you happier. I just prefer the olive oil because, you know, I come from a place where we descend from Romans, and anything Mediterranean makes me cry tears of joy.

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Ah, the beauty of oil. Excuse me while I cry a little.

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In a small oven dish, make a nice layer with the mashed potatoes. Season with love.

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Next, throw in the veggie love. And the cheesy love. You know where I am going with this.

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Pretty, huh?

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Parmesan, baby. And herbs. You will thank yourself later and so will anyone who eats this. Trust me.

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Wait until it gets out of the oven!

And here you go! A lovely side for absolutely any dinner, easy to make, cheap and full of flavor. Now excuse us while we go devour this!

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