Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rigatoni & Meatballs

Winter is the time for hearty foods. Conversely, January is the month of healthy eating.  How does one rectify these two very different ideals?


You make chicken meatballs!


Then pile them high on pasta!


Filling, but not full of calories. Unless you make a tube of crescent rolls to go along with this dinner...  Which you should... Crescent rolls are awesome.


One Year Ago: Wilde Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Cavatappi Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash
Three Years Ago: Country Sausage Pasta
Four Years Ago: Mini Zucchini Breads

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CTB 2014 - Williams Sonoma - Pasta

Welcome to Fall everyone! I'd love to say that this recipe is coming from my new kitchen. Sadly, the only thing I have made in my new kitchen is oatmeal. And that was from the slow cooker! Our new house is a bit of a mess right now and dinner is the last thing on my mind at the end of the day. It's either been frozen food (prepared fresh in my oven!) or dinner out.


Looking at this recipe, I could totally throw this together at the end of a long day. It took no time at all to boil pasta and heat up the pepperoni and arugula. It would require a trip to the grocery store though. I don't know if I'm up for that right now!


I'll be sharing a more completed tour of our new house in a few weeks. Right now the house can be found under piles and piles of stuff. Not boxes, because we didn't actually put our stuff in boxes to move it. We kind of just tossed stuff in those reusable grocery bags from Wegmans and piled it up in the moving truck. Did I mention that we bought a townhouse that is less than a quarter mile from our old apartment? Such an easy move!


Hopefully soon I will be back in the kitchen. It is completely serviceable right now (I cleaned up the mess from the previous post), but there is so much more to deal with in the house! Plus, we are probably going to re-tile the floor, add a backsplash and paint the walls. A mini remodel is in the works for my mini kitchen!

Until then, maybe I'll make this pasta again. Quick and easy is the name of the game right now!

Friday, February 14, 2014

CTB 2014 - All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

I have been promising and promising my friends that I would post more healthy dinner options to WITK this winter.  But you know what, desserts are way more delicious.  In order to prove to you (and my family and friends) that I eat more than just cupcakes and cookie cakes, I made you some dinner.


I was totally unsure of this recipe when I original chose it for my Cook the Books challenge recipe for the "All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. The thing is, I had both leeks and cabbage in my fridge, because you never go through an entire head of cabbage in one recipe.  They should try breeding smaller cabbages, maybe cute little square Japanese cabbages. (What, you know you've seen these rectangular watermelons from Japan!)


With my uncertainty put to the side, this dinner came together so quickly!  That's what happens when you are just cooking two sausages, some pasta and leafy vegetables.  Dinner in twenty minutes  BOOM!  You're welcome.

And sorry, this isn't a very romantic, February 14th kind of dinner!  Happy Valentine's Day!

One Year AgoChipotle CopyCat Recipes
Two Years AgoChocolate-Peppermint Marshmallows
Three Years AgoHomemade Butterfinger Bars

Whole Wheat Pasta with Cabbage & Leeks

This dinner was quick, simple and really delicious.  The boyfriend, who really dislikes cabbage, ate this pasta without complaining!  He actually said it was a nice change from a tomato or cream-based pasta sauce.  Just be sure to get some good fontina, I used a Dutch fontina.

1 pound uncooked whole wheat penne
Olive oil
4 ounces sweet Italian sausage
2 cups chopped leeks
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta for about 9 minutes, until just before al dente.

While pasta water comes to a boil, prepare sauce.  Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Remove sausage from the casings and cook for about 2 minutes.  Break up sausage into crumbles.  Add leeks and stir, cook for 2 minutes.  Add cabbage and stir, cook for another 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth and black pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to the sauce, toss to coat.  Cook for about 2 minutes, or until pasta is completely al dente.  Remove from the heat and stir in fontina cheese.  Serve while hot!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - Panera

Restaurant Wars 2013 continues today with Panera!  The Boyfriend and I actually live within walking distance to the town Panera, which means we eat there at least once a week.  Usually in the winter, we eat there almost exclusively.  Mostly because it gets cold here in the winter and it's the closest restaurant to our apartment.  Seriously, it's better to walk there than it is to get in a cold car and drive anywhere else.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spinach & Gorgonzola Cavatappi

Anesthesia is crazy.


I'm happy to be talking to you from the other side of my wisdom tooth extraction.  Though I hardly remember much of the procedure, or the two hours after it.  I'm thankful to have had an excellent oral surgeon.  After the initial jab of the needle and the anesthesia washing over me, I have felt very little pain.  It's been a generally good experience!  I'm now down four useless teeth and happy that I won't have to do it again.


The only problem I had with the extraction is the timing, which is totally my fault.  The dentist told me no spicy foods until I'm all healed up.  This would normally be fine, but I planned the surgery just before a visit to my parents in Buffalo.  I couldn't have a single hot wing the entire time I was home!  I was so disappointed and now I'm back in New Jersey with a healed mouth and no chicken wings!  I'll have to make some wing sauce this week.

Before my extraction I made this amazing pasta dish.  I have an all new love affair with panko breadcrumbs.  And deep frying them.  Then devouring them.  This dish was super easy too and ready in less than 30 minutes.  It also uses my favorite pasta shape - cavatappi!  If you can't find the fun little corkscrews, feel free to use any pasta with ridges.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lightened Mac'n'Cheese

Tuesday I told you about my treadmill running.  Today, I'd like to discuss running outside!  Long runs are best done outside. The monotony of the treadmill would make any run longer than four or five miles a chore. Boyfriend prefers running outside.  Mostly because he falls off the treadmill.  His legs are too long.  He also likes running in the rain and cold.  Something about "earning it."

My 8am, 6 mile run this Saturday took my from my apartment, down a wide street and through the park. It was exactly six miles, an out and back run with a loop through the park. On my outdoor runs, I keep track of my pace and mileage with MapMyRun+ on my iPhone. It tracks me with satellites and records my route down to the closest 1/100th of a mile.


The nice lady in the app tells me when I reach each mile and how fast I'm going. I know that if my pace drops below nine minutes per mile, that I need to pick up my feet for the next mile. The mile callouts are helpful when I'm doing an out and back run, rather than a loop.

When my workout is over, the app shows me my splits for every mile I ran, along with a terrain map. That way I can tell that lost a minute from my pace when I was heading uphill.

This weekend I'm heading to Buffalo to visit my parents and the Perry's ice cream factory. This means that I will be doing my long run in the Buffalo cold. I bought a hat and gloves just for the trip! I will even show my mom how to track me on her phone, just so she can make sure I didn't slack off and stop at my brothers house for a break!


Three and a half weeks until my half marathon and I'm looking forward to it! We'll see if BF joins me on my run, he's been too busy to train with me! Silly work is getting in the way. Now I just have to find the perfect running outfit and I'll be ready to hit the starting line.  I can tell you one thing, it will be neon and you'll see me coming!

Today I made you something ahead of time!  I've been spending a bit of time each Sunday, preparing a meal that BF can just put in the oven.  This way dinner can be on the table when I get home, with minimal work from either of us.  Starting in April this will be a biweekly post, so stay tuned for Make Ahead Mondays!  This week, I made you some lightened mac'n'cheese.  Yum.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Restaurant Wars - Red Lobster

I have two complaints when it comes to Red Lobster.  First, the wait.  I have never once walked into this restaurant and gotten a table right away.  It could be three o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon and you could walk in to find a forty minute wait.  Second, the service.  I'm sure it stems from the really long wait and all the people wanting to sit down and eat, but the service you get is more along the lines of - sit down, eat your food and get out.  Red Lobster isn't the European, sit as long as you'd like, linger over a cup of coffee and dessert, kind of place.  Don't take your time, eat your food and give up that table!


The reason we come to RL?  The cheddar bay biscuits of course.  Isn't that why everyone goes there?  That and I don't cook a lot of fish at home because someone won't eat it.  Eating out is the best way for me to get my lobster, fish and shellfish fix.  When ordering out, I get to order the shmorgasboard of shrimp, lobster and fish meal! 


So after waiting almost fifty minutes for our table, Boyfriend and I ordered.  He got his favorite chicken linguine dish and I loaded up on broiled fish and shellfish.  I was trying to order something that wasn't super greasy, apparently broiling also requires heaps of butter, because my dinner was still floating in oil.  To was Boyfriends pasta, but that's just the way he likes it.  We ate lots of cheesey biscuits and had almost all of our dinners to take home.


For our Red Lobster dinner at home, I had to split it into two nights.  There was no way that I could make a pasta dinner and a fish and shrimp dinner at the same time.  As much as I would like to tell you that Boyfriend helps out in the kitchen, his kitchen skills begin and end at heating.  He's had a few culinary masterpieces, but for the most part he's a prepared food preparer. 


Sunday night we had spicy chicken linguine with my own take on cheddar bay biscuits.  Monday night I threw some chicken in the fridge for Boyfriend while I prepared myself some lemon tilapia and shrimp scampi.  I'm in love with the way the chicken and pasta turned out.  It was much lighter than the restaurant meal, but so full of flavor.  It's perhaps because I used an aged parmesan cheese that was amazing.  I wanted to eat it by the chunk.


Monday nights fish dinner was a little tricky to pull together, mostly because fish cooks so fast.  The fish was ready to go much faster than the shrimp and I wasn't ready to juggle all these things (I was also preparing broccoli, stuffing and Boyfriends chicken!).  The shrimp scampi was much lighter than what I got at the restaurant, mostly because I cooked the shrimp in half butter/half olive oil.  My tilapia was simply cooked in a little butter and spritzed with some lemon.  Simple and delicious.


If you only make one thing from this post, make the biscuits!  Oh man, I think I ate four or five of these Sunday night.  I totally deserved it after that long, four-mile run.  There are many recipes for these biscuits online, but they almost all utilize Bisquick.  I was looking to make them entirely from scratch.  With a little tweaking, I think what I came out with was amazing.  If you aren't a salt freak like I am, maybe cut the garlic salt in half.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Florentine with Pasta

If you've been a long time WITK reader, you remember my early days in Colorado.  I was a year into my Postdoc and was also working as a fitness instructor.  After my move from Colorado to Connecticut, and subsequently to New Jersey, I haven't had the free time necessary to teach classes at the gym.  And I miss it so much! 

I was teaching nine classes a week when I was living in Colorado.  Bodystep, bodypump, bodyflow, TurboKick, bootcamp classes, it was all so much fun.  I had my regulars in each class and the people I gave a hard time when I didn't see them week after week.  We had a party everytime I stepped foot in front of the class, I had a great time making fitness fun with my gym friends.  Maybe some day I'll find the time to teach again.


It's been a year and a half since I started working here in and I've found my groove with work and the commute and I've started exploring the different gyms in Montclair.  And let me tell you, there are a lot of gyms in Montclair!  We have a fitness center in our apartment, it's the group fitness experience that I miss.  You know I've started taking Crossfit classes (and they are so much fun!).  This week I took advantage of an Amazon local deal and got a Barre fitness membership.

If you are a former dancer, cheerleader, baton twirler, you should really give bar classes a try.  There was totally a former ballerina in the back of the class I took this Saturday.  She was making us all look bad!  The bar class I took was a cardio and strength class.  We lifted weights, used slide boards (which I haven't seen in years!), did core work and worked our balance.  It was great and I felt taller and stronger at the end of class.  Plus, it's so fun to work out with a group of ladies and just have fun.


And...  I've signed up for my first HALF MARATHON!  Yikes!  I've got six weeks until I loop around Central Park in the More/Fitness Women's Half Marathon.  Are you in NYC?  Why don't you come out and run with me?  It will be fun... I swear...

I'll be following a fast-paced six-week training program to ramp up my distance to 13.1 miles.  It incorporates running along with crosstraining, so I will still have days to hit the Crossfit and Barre gyms.  To keep myself on track, I've added a fitness link up there at the top!  If you are looking to run a half or just want to workout with me (c'mon, it'll be fun!), follow along and we'll all be on our way to a healthier summer.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - Olive Garden

The biggest problem with going to Olive Garden? Getting a table. It seems no matter what day of the week you go, you will be waiting for a table unless you arrive at three o'clock for dinner. Yet for some reason, people are willing to wait over an hour for soup, salad and bread sticks. Well wait no more, make it all at home.

In order to test out the OG, boyfriend and I ventured out to dinner on a very specific night. February 13th. This year February 13th was both the day before Valentine's day and Ash Wednesday. When we arrived at 7:30, we were escorted right to a waiting booth. That's a first in my book.

The person who really likes OG in my house is BF. He calls it classic Italian comfort food. What you would want your bowl of carbonara to look and taste like. The dishes are all simple, straightforward and require no fancy words to describe. It's not the food your Italian grandmother would prepare, unless she was cooking for two dozen. 

To keep with that classic OG menu, BF and I both got simple dishes. BF went with a chicken Parmesan and I decided on a chicken and shrimp carbonara. Both meals came with the traditional OG soup/salad and bread sticks, and I ordered a cherry Italian soda to round out my meal.

First, do not order the cherry Italian soda unless you have a real love of children's cough syrup. It was dead on in flavor and probably had twice the amount of sugar. I took a sip and ordered a water as replacement.

Next, the general rule with the bread sticks is a follows - eat them before they get cold or prepare to sword fight with them. Once these little gems cool off, they take on a other worldly strength. I had ideas on how to avoid this issue at home.


Our meals were just as expected. BF dove into his chicken Parmesan whole heartily, until he realized he ate too many bread sticks and couldn't eat anymore. My carbonara came out looking creamy and delicious, and incredibly oily. I found out the next day as I had my leftovers just how much oil was in my dish. I love carbonara and this was good, it's just not something I could eat on a regular basis.

The plan for home. Recreate the OG experience from bread sticks to salad to main course. Lighten the fat load and try to maintain the flavors. 


Olive Garden salad at home is pretty easy.  The salad itself is just lettuce, pepperoncini, black olives, red onions and croutons.  Black olives are gross, so I omitted those.  It's pretty true to when I go to the restaurant.  The dressing has quite a few copycat recipes online that I based my final recipe on and apparently those are very similar to the actual OG recipe (I couldn't believe that they actually use mayonnaise in their recipe).  Where I took a big left turn is with my carbonara recipe.

Want easy and delicious bread sticks?  You need two ingredients.  Pizza dough and garlic salt.  I used a pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store and cut in into eight pieces.  I rolled each piece into a bread stick-like shape and spritzed them with cooking spray.  After a light sprinkle with garlic salt and eighteen minutes in the oven, we had bread sticks that didn't harden up in two minutes.  A little denser than the OG variety, but BF and I both liked the pizza dough sticks better.


The OG carbonara dish I received was covered in cheese and dripping in oil.  I made a simple and classic carbonara with grilled chicken.  BF was a little sad that my version wasn't under a layer of cheese, but it was something I could actually have before going to the gym.  After our dinner at the OG, we went home and melted into the couch.

Next time you want some Olive Garden and don't want to wait for a table, just pick up a few ingredients and make it at home!  Or you could sit in the bar area, they serve the full menu at the bar and the wait is usually much shorter!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cavatappi Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash

Winter has finally struck the New York City area!  I knew this was coming, we can't go a full year without a week or two of frigid temperatures.  I'm just going to say that I would have been perfectly fine if the temperature never dropped below freezing. 

I know my mom is reading this and saying "But you grew up in Buffalo!"  Yes I did.  I also went to grad school in Wisconsin and spent a year living in Colorado.  Yet, I moved to the coast and have since thawed.  No longer do I want to deal with minus twenty wind chills and three feet of snow on my car.  I no longer own a winter coat that resembles a down comforter with sleeves.  I don't want to wear two pairs of pants while I wait for the train to work.  If there were jobs for chemists in Florida, I would be there in a second!


January is almost at it's end and February in the Mid-Altantic region is a smattering of warm and cold days.  I just have to make it through two weeks of wind chill.  There is only one problem with these cold days.  Boyfriend and I are house hunting.

That's right, we are getting ready to put down some roots and stop paying the ridiculous rent on our current apartment.  It's exciting, overwhelming and scary all at once.  Our first major problem, we're not set on a location yet.  It's not as simple as, do we live in this neighborhood or the one next to it?  Our question is - Do we live in New York or New Jersey?


There are a million factors to take into account.  Boyfriend and I work in two different states, he drives, I commute via train.  New Jersey has high property taxes yet New York has those darned city taxes.  Brooklyn is so hip and cool, Jersey city is... well, I have no idea what Jersey city has to offer.  I've only been there a few times!

So, see all the issues we have to deal with!  Add in the fact that it's chilly out and we are spending our Sundays trekking all over the two cities looking at open houses, you've got two very chilly individuals.  Luckily we have a few months before we have to leave our current apartment, the weather can warm up before we have to move. 

I'll just be a little crazy for the next few months, what with the stalking the NYtimes real estate page for new listings.  During that time I plan on making lots of dinners like this.  Ones that make a ton of leftovers! 

Anyone out there recently buy a house and have some tips and tricks for us?  While Boyfriend has previously bought a condo in Buffalo, this will be our first place together and my first purchase (Hello Property Virgin!).  So much to do, will we ever find a place?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Pasta

I've made pasta at home a few times before.  I feel like it is a Fall/Winter activity.  This is because it usually takes a while to make and I don't want to spend my summer hours rolling out pasta dough.  I don't mind cozying up in the kitchen with my helper when the sun goes down before I even get home from work. 


That's right, I said I had a helper!  Making pasta at home tends to be a two person job.  To keep me from making a mess of the ravioli, Boyfriend made a special appearance in the kitchen this weekend to lend a hand.  He only whined about it for a second, then he floured up and dove right in. 


Boyfriends main job was to catch the pasta dough as it made its way through the pasta maker.  If you can rope someone into helping you make pasta, it will make your recipe much easier to prepare.


I'm a big fan of storebought pastas.  These days you can get plain, whole wheat, gluten free, tricolor, herb-infused, the choices are endless.  It also helps that pasta goes on sale for a dollar a box.  When a recipe calls for penne, angel hair or rotini, I'm reaching for the pantry, not the flour bin. 


Where I think the storebought pastas are lacking is in their filled pasta selection.  Sure, you can get cheese tortellini or four cheese ravioli, but unless you want to shell out big bucks for fancy pasta you should think about making your own at home.


For todays recipe I decided to go with a sun-dried tomato ravioli, infusing both the pasta and filling with tomato flavor.  Pasta dough is really easy to make.  All you have to do is pile your flour up, make a well in the center and add your wet ingredients.  Mix your wet ingredients with a fork and slowly start to incorporate the flour.  Once the dough starts to come together, you just knead it with your hands and form it into a disk.  Just like pie dough, you let it sit for a little while and let the flour hydrate.


Once your pasta dough is rested, you get out your flattening tool of choice.  You can use a rolling pin, which was my method of choice for the first few times I made pasta.  You need to have patience and keep rolling and rolling.  The pasta will spring back each time you roll it out, gradually getting flatter. 


After making pasta a few times, I decided to get a pasta maker.  It's heavy duty and clamps onto the countertop.  The pasta maker makes it much easier to roll out the pasta to an even thickness.  I find that the pasta dough springs back less when using a pasta maker.  My machine also came with a spaghetti and linguine cutter.  There are attachments that make thicker or thinner pasta, even a ravioli making attachment.


Boyfriend and I made the ravioli by hand after rolling out the pasta.  When it comes to ravioli, I've found that it's best to roll out the pasta to the thinnest option on the machine.  You'll be putting two pieces of pasta on top of each other and the last thing you want is to bite into a thick piece of pasta.


The best thing about homemade pasta is that it takes so little time to cook!  Once the pasta was done, dinner was ready in fifteen minutes.  The sauce took a while to cook down.



One Year Ago: Parmesan Chicken with Thyme Ghocchi
Two Years Ago: Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Potato Soup

Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce
A Wilde Original

Be sure to prepare your pasta dough on a wooden surface or plastic cutting board.  Don't prepare the dough on a granite countertop because it will chill the dough too much and decrease the elasticity of the dough.

Pasta
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
pinch salt & pepper

Filling
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 egg yolks (set 2 egg whites aside)

Basil cream sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Pour flour into a mound on your chosen surface.  Make a well in the center of the dough.  Add eggs, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the well.  Using a fork, begin to whisk the eggs with the tomato paste.  Begin to incorporate the flour into the eggs.  As the dough begins to form a shaggy mass, switch to using your hands.  Begin to knead the remaining flour into the dough, pressing with the heel of your hands.  Once all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, form it into a ball and wrap in plastic.  Set dough aside for 1 hour.

Prepare filling by mixing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set egg whites in another small bowl.

Divide the past dough in half.  Using your desired method, roll out pasta until it is almost paper thin, mine was about 1/8-inch thick.

Flour your work surface and place one sheet of pasta dough on the counter.  Add teaspoons of filling about 1-2 inches apart.  Using a pastry brush, paint around the ricotta filling with the egg whites.  Lay the second sheet of dough on top of the first.  Press the top layer of pasta onto the lower layer, trying to remove any air bubbles from the ravioli.  Cut the ravioli apart using a knife, pizza cutter or pasta cutter.  Let finished pasta rest on a baking sheet dusted with flour for about 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  As the water comes to a boil, prepare the cream sauce.  Combine basil, white wine and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour contents of the blender into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add heavy cream and stir with a whisk.  The sauce will take about 15 minutes to reduce.  Don't be tempted to raise the heat to high, let it reduce slowly.  Once the sauce is close to your desired thickness, give it a taste.  Season with salt and pepper.

As the sauce is reducing, add ravioli to the boiling water.  Don't walk away, it won't take that long to cook the ravioli through.  Once the pasta floats to the top, it is done, this will take about 3-5 minutes.  Fish out pasta with a slotted spoon and set to drain in a colander.  Allow pasta to drain for 1 minute before serving.  Serve ravioli with basil cream sauce.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Marinated Tomato Pasta with Gorgonzola

I'm finally back from our weeklong hiatus in the great white north.  No, not Canada.  Alaska!

Boyfriend and I spent a week among the seals, bears and whales, sailing the chilly Pacific on the Celebrity Infinity.  What can I say about Alaska?  It's just plain majestic.  We cruised by, hiked through and flew over some of the most beautiful landscapes that I have ever seen. 


Towering mountains with blue glaciers clinging to their sides.


Green hills, peeking through an early morning layer of clouds.


Huge boulders, floating on a river of flowing blue water and ice.


Our trip through Alaska was also one of the most active vacations we've taken.  Thankfully we had a day at sea to recover from all the activities.

Hiking...


Rock Climbing...


White Water Rafting...


I'm a little tired still.  That's why I went with a simple pasta dish from my new Alaskan cookbook, even though this dish seems like the least Alaskan dish I could find.  No salmon to be found!

But here's a bear...


And here's the pasta!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tortellini and Artichokes in Walnut Sauce

I'm not here right now, I'm in Alaska!  Please leave a message!  Beeeeeeeepppp...


I left you some pasta to eat while I'm gone.  Don't burn the house down!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Gnocchi

From potato to dinner plate in less than thirty minutes.  That is the first thing I will tell you about these little potato pillows.  In less time than it would take you to get in your car, drive to the grocery store and return home, you can make your own gnocchi from scratch.  Also, they will taste amazing.


I've made my own pasta a few times before (remember the acorn squash ravioli and ricotta tortellini?) and remembered what a time commitment it was.  Between making the dough, rolling it out, forming the pasta and letting it dry, the only time I was saving was for the fact that homemade pasta takes almost no time to cook.  When I arrived home (on a late train, of course), I wasn't really keen on eating at ten o'clock at night.  I really wanted to eat post haste!

This is where the microwave came into play.  Did you know you can microwave a potato, assuming you have poked enough holes in it, and it will cook in only twelve minutes?  If you neglect to poke holes in the potatoes, you'll have the joy of watching a potato explode violently in your microwave.  Take your pick, both are excellent ways to use a potato.


Once the potatoes were cooked through (and not exploded, thank you very much) I just had to let them sit for a moment.  It was at this point that I put together the sauce for my eventual gnocchi dinner.  It was simple, get this...  Melt butter and thyme together.  Keep warm.  Fin.


The assembly of the gnocchi was the part that took the longest and mostly because no one wanted to help me roll out the dough.  Someone was busy making a Hot dog film.  Don't ask.  After combining all of the ingredients and giving them a quick knead with my two hands, the dough was ready.


Working in three batches, I rolled the dough out into a long rope.  The rope was then chopped into 1-inch segments and each piece was rolled over the tines of a fork.  If you have a helper in the kitchen, you could probably get this done in half the time. 




But there we are, the little potato pillows were ready to go into the boiling water.  How long do they take to cook?  About three minutes.  More precisely?  Once these little guys float to the top, they are ready for consuming.  I slowly added the gnocchi to the water, one at a time and they slowly floated up to the surface one at a time.  The finished ones were scooped out with a slotted spoon and set to drain for a minute in my colander. 

When the final gnocchi was rescued from the boiling water, they all went into the pan with the thyme butter and were ready to go.  From potato to plate in thirty minutes flat.


How do these little guys compare to those vacuum-sealed store-bought packages of gnocchi?  No question, the homemade version trumps the premade ones.  You've got flavor for miles with your own handmade ones.  The texture of a freshly prepared gnocchi is out of this world.  The variety of potato pasta is endless, just think of all of the things you can add to the pasta dough! 


Hold yourself back from buying gnocchi in the store and make it a fun event with your little ones.  They'll really enjoy rolling out the dough and making the gnocchi shapes!  I know I did and I'm thirty years old!
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