Second time is the charm…

Twice in the last two weeks I’ve had a recipe disaster convert to a recipe result by trying it a second time. The first was crab cakes; the first time I tried to make them I followed the recipe advice to fry them, but the second time I baked them and they were awesome instead of a disaster. I highly recommend baked crab cakes, the ingredients stood out well and the method was much simpler.

The second time I needed a re-do was more critical, I have long been obsessed with potato gnocchi. I had some in San Francisco when I was at a conference many years ago; they were so good they ruined me from appreciating other attempts. The risk is that one is too “noodle-y” and the gnocchi are tough and thick noodle-like morsels instead of soft, spongey pillows of goodness. I have tried many times over the years since 2002 when I sampled potato gnocchi brilliance in San Francisco. I have always erred on the side of being too noodle-y and have made a “dough” that looked like a home-made noodle dough; I have a pasta attachment on my Kitchenaid and have used it. But it did not result in good gnocchi.

So today I did the most amazing thing, I actually followed a recipe. I’m convinced now that any time that flour is involved, the quantities are crucial. My early attempts at home-made bread definitely involved too much flour and resulted in dense bread that was not like the modern ciabatta or any other modern bread. I’ve learned my lesson there. Similarly, the proportions associated with potato gnocchi are critical. A pound of mashed up potatoes (I used riced) to a single egg and a single cup of flour does it. The dough is like pie crust, it does not seem to be a dough proper but it works. Letting the dough rest is crucial. The results were delicious and totally worth the effort.


The sauce is a combination of a store-bought pesto with some cream and a bit of parmesan cheese.



5 responses to “Second time is the charm…

  1. Thats pretty inspiring. Ive long wondered if I should bother making pasta and the gnocchi looks delicious. After all that effort why did you buy (part of) the sauce?! Although, some store bought sauces are pretty nice. Waitrose does a gorgeous green pesto.

    • Michelle, there is only so much time I can be bothered to put into cooking for myself; if I had anyone to eat the food but me, I would definitely make the pesto from scratch. But for Saturday lunch, store-bought (M&S, no Waitrose within walking distance) was definitely good enough.

  2. I should not have looked at that picture before I had my dinner. Mmmm.

  3. It helps to be absolutely crap at most kinds of cooking. Then you simply HAVE to follow a recipe every single time!!!

  4. Pingback: Flashback « Not From Around Here

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