My First Potato Gnocchi

I’ve been watching cooking shows and competitions five-ever. There are three things that I have simply never attempted because I imagined Gordon Ramsay looming over my kitchen and judging every step. Beef Wellington. Risotto. Gnocchi.

 

Today, I bit the bullet and decided to attempt gnocchi. I, however, do not own a food mill or potato ricer. I love kitchen gadgets but I have to rationalize its use. I can’t convince myself to buy gadgets that I’ll use once a year, hence, no ricer or mill. I hit the Googles to find out if it was possible to achieve this without those tools. Apparently, there is. I was skeptical but I figured I’d give it a shot.

 

2 lbs potatoes

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp kosher salt

Flour

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pierce your potatoes with a fork and spread on a cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender.
  4. Allow to cool
  5. Peel the potatoes20171015_163515
  6. Using a ricer, food mill or grater (large holes) break down your potatoes20171015_16441320171015_164556
  7. Add salt and egg
  8. Add flour a little bit at a time; you do not want to over flour.
  9. Using a wooden spoon, your hands or a silicon spatula combine the dough. It should not stick to your hands.
  10. Flour your surface and knead your dough for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Cover with a towel as you work20171015_170153 (1)
  12. Cut a portion of the dough ball and roll into a snake, about 1/2” in diameter
  13. Cut little pillows20171015_172321
  14. I am no expert. I used YouTube to find out how to roll the dough on fork tines. You can try this or just leave them as pillowsgnochii
  15. If you’re going to cook them right away, one option is to cook them as you would pasta. Much like fresh pasta, these will float to the top. Once they float, allow them to cook for about a minute before draining.20171015_172816
  16. If you’re going to freeze them, flour a cookie sheet and spread the gnocchi there. Allow them to freeze then store them in a ziplock bag.

 

Who knew gnocchi wasn’t that scary after all?

 

 

Basil Pesto and Artichoke Pasta Salad

One of my favorite things in the world is pasta. It’s versatile, it can stretch, you can eat it hot or cold. Give me a noodle and some cheese and I’ll be a happy girl.

 

I decided to whip up a quick pasta salad for my guests. This is a very fresh, light salad. It calls for a homemade basil pesto as the dressing. It is so easy but it seems super fancy. It’s a dump and go recipe; it does not require a lot of labor or preparation. You can make it in advance and whip it out before your guests arrive.

This can be eaten alone or as a side.

 

 

Ingredients:

One box of farfalle, rotini or cavatappi

1 can of artichoke quarter, rinsed and drained

1 bunch of basil

1-2 tsp of lemon zest

5-6 cloves of garlic

1 cup of grape tomatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp black pepper

½ c romano cheese

¼ c parmesan cheese

Optional: 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, cubed


  1. Cook pasta according to box directions, drain.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine basil (reserve 4-5 leaves for garnish), lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Add more oil if needed.pesto
  3. Roughly chop the artichokepesto2
  4. In a large bowl, combine the basil mixture, the pasta, the artichoke and the cheese.pesto3pesto4pesto5
  5. Top with parm and julienned basil.

pesto6pesto7

Super yummy warm, room temperature or cold.

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Veggie-Packed Spicy Sausage Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna is one of those meals that you whip up and you know you won’t have to worry about dinner for a couple of nights. It’s also one of those meals that allow you to load up on veggies! If you punch up the flavor, even the most anti-veg person will devour a serving or few.

 

Yields 15 lasagna rolls

 

Ingredients:

Box of lasagna noodles

5 Spicy Italian sausage

small yellow onion

half of a green bell pepper

1 large zucchini

3 large carrots

1 pack of frozen chopped spinach

pint of reduced fat ricotta

4 cloves of garlic

Garlic powder

Italian seasoning

Kosher salt

Crushed pepper

Your favorite tomato sauce

Your preferred shredded cheese

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  3. Boil the lasagna noodles.
  4. Using a mandolin slicer, create zucchini ribbons and carrot ribbonsrolls2
  5. Defrost spinach
  6. Brown your sausage or other ground meat (this could be a omitted for a completely vegetarian recipe)rolls1
  7. Add chopped garlic, onion and pepper, cook until just softened, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Drain your noodles, should be al denterolls3
  9. Remove the meat and veg from the pan and drain in a strainer or a paper towel
  10. Drain spinach, season with salt, pepper and about 1 tsp garlic powder.
  11. Season ricotta with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt and a pinch of crushed pepper, mix to combine
  12. Take one noodle and “paint” ricotta mixture using a spoon or a spatula
  13. Lay carrot ribbons, sprinkle spinach, sprinkle meat mixture and top with cheeserolls4
  14. Tightly roll the noodles uprolls5-copy
  15. Nestle a zucchini ribbon overtop, repeat until your pan is full. My pan was 13×9 and that fit 15 rolls. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt over your ribbon-wrapped rolls. rolls6
  16. Top with your favorite tomato sauce (I used 2 parts canned diced tomato and 1 part canned crushed tomato that I seasoned it up using my go-to’s: kosher salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, Italian seasoning, pinch of sugar and a dash of fish sauce).
  17. Generously top with your preferred shredded cheeserolls8
  18. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes then uncovered until bubbling and the edges start to brown.

rolls9

rolls11

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved