ricotta and chive gnocchi (and quitting)

I'm not a quitter.

I finish bad books. I eat bad meals. I never leave a bag of Tostitos alone, especially the lime ones.

But gnocchi made me crazy. For three reasons.

Reason One. It was one of those moments where you get too hungry, the meal isn't ready, and your entire kitchen and half your body is covered in all purpose flour. Oh, and perhaps you ran out of flour at one point.

Reason Two. I will ... without fail ... always pick a bowl / cutting board / pot that is too small for the activity intended. 

Reason Three. I've cooked for 'one' during the majority of my experimental culinary adventures. I'm not afraid of leftovers. I relish in them. Bring it on freezer! Hi Wednesday lunch! But, apparently this recipe was for 4-6 people. Spoiler alert. That's a whole lot of potato flour ricotta business. I nearly died.

I had originally tried to make this recipe at least 3 other times this week - but each time I realized how long it was going to take, I got too hungry, or the meatballs in my freezer were too irresistible. But today, there was no more running. Gnocchi, meet Jen. Jen, meet piles of potato.

So gnocchi actually in theory isn't terribly difficult. I'm sure there is an art to 'perfecting' it ... and I'll get to that the next time I make it ... but attempting gnocchi isn't going to kill you. There are no complicated skills to master or tools required. It's really quite great. I found the recipe on my new favorite site Food52 and procured all the necessary ingredients without hassle. Come on, its like potatoes and flour. Easy peasey.

The challenging part is when you attempt to roll out gnocchi on your apartment friendly cutting board ... as opposed to real life size culinary life cutting board. And once you've managed to make the dough, then you need to kneed it (still easy), but then you divide it (getting a little more tricky), and then you start to roll it again (annoying at this point), and of course you need more flour (terribly messy everywhere) ... and just now you are ready to cut it (sense of relief).

But then.... you realize flour is everywhere. Your hands are worse than when you make gingerbread cookies and you have only cut up 25% of the dough. So you keep going and when you are done, you have to COOK IT.

Long story short. Here's what happened to my gnocchi for 4-6 people. 
  • After realizing 25% of the way in that I was making gnocchi for 6, I decided to push on. I was a survivor. I could make it. 
  • Sweet jesus. I need to boil water? Water takes forever to boil in this apartment. Its like the pots reject the concept of being heated
  • It takes about 35 minutes to boil a sizable tall pot of water. I spent this entire time rolling and cutting the remaining 75% of the dough. With 25% left, I nearly ran to my bottle of wine and took a "gatorade" break. It was worth it.
  • With all the gnocchi cut, I realized cooking all of this was dumb. So I elected to cook 75% and attempt to freeze the other 25%. I've never frozen gnocchi before but if Trader Joes can do it, so can I. Right? Maybe, we'll see soon.
  • With the water boiling, you dump in all the cut up gnocchi bits. After about 5 minutes they are done... but now you need to essentially sear them in a skillet. My skillet is the size a person requires when they make the occasional omelet.... not gnocchi for 4.
  • After 15 minutes of skilleting some gnocchi, my hunger was getting to the rage state. I looked at the two plates in front of me. One with freshly boiled gnocchi bits .... and one with delightfully seared gnocchi. Then I looked at the couch. Couch wins.
So yes, I made gnocchi for 6. Froze gnocchi for 2, ate gnocchi for 1.... and threw out gnocchi for 3.

You would have done the same ... that is unless you had three gnocchi loving guests in your apartment. Lucky for me, I was alone.

How do you make gnocchi successfully? Either get a friend or cut the recipe in half. You'll be a million times happier. Also, start drinking wine at the beginning. Don't wait. I'm not telling.

(Step 1) Boil water and add the russet potatoes. Boil for 45 minutes and remove the potatoes to cool.
(Step 2) Once your taters are cooled, peel the skin off (any way you like) and mash the potatoes. Ideally, this mixture looks like silk. In real life it probably won't but use your immersion blender / mixer to get close. Then, add the eggs and stir into the mixture. And then, add in the ricotta, parmesan, and chives.

(Step 3) At this point, the mixture should be very thick. You might even question what you are making here. It's fine. Remain calm and add flour. Add the flour until the mixture gets to be maliable like dough. It'll still be sticky but thats fine. 

(Step 4) Now, Take a handful or two of flour and scatter it on a smooth surface. Roll the dough in the flour until your hands don't look like they have suffered an acid burn (i.e. flour stuck everywhere and peeling off)

(Step 5) Now divide the dough as you please and roll like a snake until they are about as wide as a quarter. Using a knife or your fingers, break apart the snake into gnocchi bits (1/2 inch-ish). Set all the finished gnocchi on a large plate to the side.
(Step 6) After you either finish rolling the dough or quit, dump them into a pot of boiling salted water. Boil for 5 minutes and pull from the water with a slotted spoon or colander.

(Step 7) In a saute pan over medium high heat, add two tablespoons of oil and butter. Depending on how many you want to cook at a time ... pick a larger pan. Cook the gnocchi until they get a light, brown crust around them. Obvious point? You'll want to flip them to "crisp up" more than one side. 
(Step 8) When you are ready to eat, season the gnocchi with whatever you want really. I added a little brown butter, dried chives from my spice drawer, grated parmesan, and fleur de sal. 

This. Was. Delicious.

Shopping List
3 Russet Potatos
2 eggs
1 cup of Ricotta
1/2 c grated Parm
1/3 c finely cut chives
2 cups flour (to start ... you need a bazillion more for rolling / cutting)
4 T Butter / Olive Oil

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