Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gnocchi - What Not To Do

I've been putting off posting this for a very long time. But deep down I knew that I had to do it eventually, for the sake of keeping the integrity of a blog that proclaims to be the foodie adventures of a 20-something year old.

I suppose it always helps people to know what NOT to do when you're trying to make something.

Either way, the story goes a little like this:

I love gnocchi.
My favourite gnocchi experience was the gnocchi gorgonzola from Machiavelli's.
Then I thought I was gangster-chef, and decided to replicate the dish at home. From scratch.
Then I used Alex Herbert's recipe from Masterchef.
Then I forgot how much potato was needed and bought too little. But because I was feeling so gangster I thought I could somehow make it work anyway.
Then I figured since I steered off the recipe a little, then it wouldn't matter if I steered off a little more.
Then Coles decided not to sell Gorgonzola (which is a type of blue cheese), so I substituted with King Island Blue Cheese.
And then I got home and the chaos began.

Error No.1: I cut the pieces of potatoes too small. This caused serious waterlogging issues in my potatoes and formed a poor dough. It also allowed them to be overcooked too quickly.

I had 1.2kgs of Desiree Potatoes. The recipe called for 1.5kg.

And here I thought I was being clever and cutting cooking time. Gosh.

Error No. 2: If you're planning on waterlogging your potatoes then at least make the effort to drain them properly.

Clearly that never really crossed my mind as I was making this.

This is about 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. I may have added more because I couldn't control myself.
And this is one cup of plain flour. I didn't get EVERYTHING wrong.

Then I mashed the drained potatoes, and combine with parmesan and a pinch of salt.

Hopefully your potatoes will be quite cool by now because you'll be needing to crack an egg into it. Luckily, mine were sufficiently cool so I didn't end up with cooked egg in my gnocchi mix. Eww.

Then sift the one cup of flour into the mixture and combine everything well. Don't beat it too heavily because you want everything quite light and fluffy. I don't think I sifted mine.

Mix mix. Mix mix. Mixmixmixmixmix.

Then on a floured surface, knead the gnocchi dough lightly.

Once the dough feels smooth, flour the surface once again and break off a small piece and roll the dough into a sausage. Cut individual pieces of gnocchi the size of whatever you're happy to put into your mouth and line them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Put them aside while you prepare the sauce.

I wanted to keep the sauce fairly simple, so I chopped up a handful of continental parsley. Use as much or as little as you like. I'm pretty generous with mine as I love the stuff.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, I dropped my gnocchi in and just kind of forgot about it while I made the sauce.

*smacks head on table*

Schoolboy error.

Anyway, back to the sauce. I used about a cup of cream for the base, with a small pinch of nutmeg. Those little black specks in the picture are parsley. I couldn't control myself.

Then I crumbed about a tonne of blue cheese.

Seriously, about a tonne. Not only did I put enough to turn my house into a gas chamber and drive my parents out with the stink, but that was definitely enough blue cheese to last me a life time.

Yes. I was cooking for one. I honestly don't know what I was thinking.

Then I salvaged whatever gnocchi I had left from the pot that I had forgotten about. The pieces were falling apart and I think I may have cried a little at this point.

All that effort for a few pieces of gnocchi that ended up falling apart anyway. Gosh. What a bad day in the kitchen.

The stench of the blue cheese also didn't leave for a few days...but I won't go into that.

Nevertheless I still plated it up, had a few bites to appreciate what a horrible mess I had made of the dish. It was still edible, to say the least, and experience-wise it was a huge level up.

So here it is folks, my first post on a horrid day in the kitchen.

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