Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures (7)

Gnocchi in tomato broth

This came out nicely in terms of execution, and didn’t take a whole lot longer than advertised (if you actually chop stuff first, probably it really would only take an hour). But: it took All The Dishes, it was pretty fiddly, and the result was underwhelming for someone who doesn’t love gnocchi that much in the first place.

I know, I know — why would I make this recipe if I don’t like gnocchi that much? Well, it looked really easy from a shopping perspective, and it didn’t seem like that much prep work (except for the gnocchi-making, which I thought would be interesting), and maybe it would be really good? It looks so tasty.

Honestly, I was secretly hoping that I just hadn’t had good gnocchi, and that making my own would finally convince me they’re amazing. But it didn’t. They turned out well — not the best I’ve ever had, but totally passable homemade gnocchi. Which is saying something, since gnocchi are kind of known for being hard to make. I think the reputation is a little undeserved — it’s irritating and messy because potatoes make sticky dough, but not actually difficult if you have some dough-making experience. Deb has you use a box grater instead of the fancier and rarer potato ricer, which is sort of fine except that half the potato just falls apart while you try to grate the rest. So I think, actually, you should have a potato ricer in the ideal case. Or I should have used the food processor — as if I didn’t use enough dishes as it was.

Anyway, the gnocchi aren’t the highlight of this dish if you ask me — it’s actually the tomato broth. It’s really good. Really, really good. I would totally make it again, at least if I can convince myself that ending up with a bunch of stray mushy vegetables at the end is worth it. (I’ll probably save them to add to another vegetable soup. I can’t stand throwing away cooked veggies, even if their essence is already extracted.)

But when you add the gnocchi to the tomato broth, it’s just these blandish white soft things in this amazing broth with some tasty garnishes (I used more basil leaves and parmesan, like Deb suggests), and I’m like “But why are gnocchi? I do not understand.” When all you have is gnocchi and tomato broth, they both need to be things you like. And for me they’re just not. I normally love potatoes, but gnocchi are blander than potatoes alone.

And the dishes, oh lord, the dishes. You have to understand: my kitchen is as small as Deb’s (or smaller), and doesn’t have as many cabinets or clever storage devices. I managed to use two pots, two mixing bowls, one glass storage container, one giant baking sheet, one plastic container, the grater, a strainer, the colander, and the usual suspects (knife, cutting board, garlic squisher, peeler, cup and spoon measures). I washed the cutting board and the knife twice. Things were precariously balanced everywhere. I was making gnocchi while cooking gnocchi. It was awkward. So it’ll probably never happen again. I just need to figure out something else to put in this amazing broth.

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