What do you get when you cross a girl with a potato allergy, faulty method and mixed up ingredients? This icky Gnocci! ew!!!
That’s right, I am starting off week three of Vegan MoFo with a kitchen catastrophe. I have a soft spot in my heart for gnocci, those tender little pillows of potato pasta, but I have never had good gnocci at home. Packaged, supermarket gnocci, when you are lucky enough to find a vegan variety, is universally disappointing. Often tough, sometimes gummy, store-bought gnocci lacks the dual textures of homemade: slightly al denté yet fluffy all the same. We even live a block away from an authentic Mediterranean market and I was heartbroken to discover the gnocci they sell is no different than any other vacuum sealed dud. So, rather than relegate gnocci to those rare occasions we can find a vegan version at a restaurant (the hotel we got married at served me the most incredible, vegan gnocci on our anniversary a couple years back and forever doomed me to be a brutal and severe gnocci critic), I decided to try my hand at creating my own from scratch. And boy did I blow it.
Faux Pas the First:
I chose russet potatoes because they are considered to be floury (categorized as having a low moisture and sugar content), which is ideal for pasta. But, rather than baking them in a dry oven, I peeled and pressure cooked them whole for 12 minutes instead.
Although I blotted them dry immediately and let them sit for about 1/2 an hour, I think the pressure cooking was just too much of a soak for them. Which lead me to…
Faux Pas the Second
Rather than pushing the potatoes through a sieve, as most recipes suggest, I took the lazy way out and whirled them through the grating blade of my food processor.
I never make mashed potatoes in the food processor. Why? As you can see in the above photo (especially around the edges of the bowl), the result is a sick, gluey mess. But, ever hopeful kitty that I am, I thought that maybe the gluey texture of the potatoes might be a boon to pasta, acting as a better binder in the absence of egg. However…
Faux Pas the Third
Do you ever find that homemade wholegrain pasta sometimes has a play-doughy taste? We do and I wanted my first attempt to shine, so I decided to use, gasp! white flour in this recipe! Refined carbs! eeek! Problem is that I rarely have all-purpose flour in the house, so I had to use cake and pastry flour as a substitute. The fine texture of this delicate flour in concert with the overly moist potatoes was a perfect storm. No matter how much I over-mixed and over-floured, the dough just kept getting stickier and finally I had to make a decision: throw out the whole mess or firm it up with some whole wheat flour. I chose option 2. I was wrong.
Once I was able to bring the dough to a rollable consistency, it was smooth sailing. Or so I thought…
So, I boiled them gently in salted water until they floated and served them to my very nice and unsuspecting family with a red wine and wilted spinach tomato sauce. I am so, so cruel.
They were tough, they were super play-doughy, yet, strangely, my kids could not get enough of’em. Perhaps because they tasted like play dough? My husband ate a substantial helping, perhaps because he is a wonderful human being. I stoically nibbled my photo display, cursing my smugness, my utter disdain for the substandard gnocci attempts of others. Karma’s a poo-face.