And home made basil and spinach pesto!
Some days you just want to hit some things, cut some things, and then bury your face in carbs. I had one of those days last week. Assignments were piling up around my ears, I couldn't sleep, I was caught in the rain riding home, and my to do list was spread across three pieces of paper.
As I stumbled into the house to find that my cat had left me yet another mouse I realised - it was a gnocchi kinda day.
You can get gnocchi from the shops and its usually a bit like pasta - a stodgy yet satisfying carb for when chewing is just a bit too much effort.
But I am here to tell you that you can make this at home, and you can make it ten times as good.
Now, traditionally gnocchi is a boiled dumpling but personally I prefer it crunchy. When I am feeling healthy I bake it in a nice hot oven and it comes out like little pillows of potatoey goodness. When I feel unhealthy I fry it in a big blob of butter and make a naive promise to myself that I'll definitely go for a run or something tomorrow. Ha. Yeah no.
2 large floury potatoes (500g ish)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
Boil the potatoes with skins on until just tender, then drain. (While these are boiling you can make your pesto!)
Pull the skin off without burning your fingers.... easier said than done.... Grate with a cheese grater and spread out to cool completely.
Sprinkle dry ingredients over your potatoes, fold in the grated potato from the sides until you have a roundish blob. Kneed the dough until its dough-y. If its sticking to your fingers slowly add a bit more flour.
The dough is ready when you can tear a chunk off and roll it into a ball and it stays in ball shape. This shit is heaps technical.
Roll your dough into two or three long 2cm thick sausages, and cut the sausage into little 1-2cm long pillows. Smoosh the pillows with a fork to make them a tad flatter.
Now decide how healthy you feel....
If you're frying:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Melt oily bits in a medium heat pan and fry in batches. Pop them on a paper towel to drain once they are done.
If you are feeling a bit healthier - or want them all to be done at the same time - pop them on a well oiled oven tray at 200 degrees until they are just starting to go golden.
And that yummy pesto...? This is my vague recipe, but as with most sauces they are more guidelines than actual rules.
1/2 cup packed baby spinach (or any other greens really... even blanched broccoli if you're that way inclined)
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 big clove of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts (LOL I cant afford that, I use cashews or any other nut really)
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (trust me, this is magic)
salt and pepper if you like
Toss it all into a blender aside from one tablespoon of the oil and whizz it up. Slowly drizzle in the last of the oil and KAPOW - you have pesto yo. Make it as smooth or chunky as you like.
Ladle liberally over your gnocchi, top with more nuts and cheese, and maybe a grind of pepper, and enjoy.
With food like this in the world there will always be hope for a better day.