Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in Creamy Sauce
March 22, 2008
Gnocchi your socks off.
Gnocchi three times.
Okay, I think that’s quite enough.
You shouldn’t gnocchi a guy when he’s down.
I said that’s it! That’s all I’m gonna take!
Oh, come on. Be nice to me. I went to the School of Hard Gnocchis.
All right, buddy, you asked for it–
Look, don’t gnocchi it ’til you try it.
* * * * * *
Now, judging by my little preamble here, you might surmise that I don’t take my gnocchi quite as seriously as I should. I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. I fully understand the gravitas of gnocchi, believe me; in fact, I take them just as seriously as my job (extremely); or saving for retirement (nerve-rackingly); or even the well-being of The Girls (all-consumingly).
(“Well, Mum, you know that we both take your well-being very seriously too, right? Because if anything ever happened to you, how would we get our dinner?”)
I am well aware that the genesis of a good gnocchi is more art than skill; and also that I am, in that particular realm at least, neither artistically inclined nor very skilled. Because the process usually requires planning, talent, and the equanimity of a Stepford wife, I have rarely ventured to attempt the challenge. A shame, really, as I adore gnocchi.
In my long-ago wheat-eating days, I would snatch any opportunity to sample one of those freshly pinched and simmered Italian dumplings. The HH and I patronized quite a range of small, family-owned Italian restaurants in our early days, and each boasted its own version of the little pasta pillows: smothered in Arrabiata with extra jalapenos mounded on the side; lightly pan-fried in olive oil, then sprinkled liberally with springy sage and dusted with freshly grated Parmesan; tossed gently in a vodka cream sauce with black olives and capers–I loved them all. I loved the slightly gooey exterior, the softly yielding chew, the smooth and subtle flavor that demanded a potato ricer to achieve.
Before today, I had yet to sample a spelt-based version of gnocchi. (Seems they don’t serve spelt gnocchi in most Italian restaurants I’ve frequented. Quel surprise!). The few times I endeavored to cook up some of the light, spud-based morsels using a traditional recipe in the past, the result was a total flop. Either the gnocchi were so hard and dense that they could be shot from a BB gun, or they turned out so soft and mushy that one might wonder where the pasta was hiding in this white, slushy gruel. And yet. . . and yet. . . they persisted in beckoning to me.
So, last night, I threw caution to the winds, and allowed my passion for the little rascals to lead me into temptation. I knew I’d likely get gnocchi’d up for my efforts, but just didn’t care. After all, the outcome would be a bowl brimming with my delicious, darling pasta babies! Besides, I thought gnocchi would be the perfect submission to Ruth’s weekly Presto Pasta Night over at Once Upon a Feast.
I started with a fairly simple recipe for Spiced Carrot Gnocchi that I found in Gourmet Vegetarian by Jane Price, and adapted it according to my own dietary restrictions: no eggs and no wheat (replaced with silken tofu and a combination of whole spelt and oat flours, respectively). I topped the gnocchi with a creamy, cheesy sauce of my own invention (I’ve had great luck with sauces in the past, thankfully), and sprinkled some chopped fresh parsley over top.
How did it end up? Well, let’s just say that the sauce was rich, creamy, and delicious, as expected. As to my experiments with my potato nemesis? Well, I must confess that, once again, success eluded me. Don’t get me wrong–they weren’t awful; in fact, the mildly sweet and dense chewiness was well complemented by the velvety, cheesy sauce. Still, if you’re looking for the traditional version of this pasta, you won’t be satisfied with these.
And I hate to admit it, I think I will finally put this kitchen quest behind me, once and for all. That’s right–it’s time to gnocchi it off for good.
Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in Cream Sauce
The contrast between the dense, slightly chewy gnocchi and the velvety sauce is a pleasing one. These gnocchi were a little heavy and slightly sweet; if you’re okay with non-traditional pasta, you may enjoy these.
Spiced Carrot Gnocchi
Adapted from Gourmet Vegetarian by Jane Price
TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.