Monday 1 October 2012

Meat Free Monday - Panfried gnocchi with pesto

Cream cheese gnocchi
I've had a few days off work recently. Originally Paul & I planned to go away for a long weekend, but then he couldn't get the time off work and I decided to take the leave anyway. It was lovely: very relaxing and restorative (even if I did come down with a cold and get very few of my planned projects achieved).

It also meant that I watched some TV that I wouldn't normally watch. Like Lorraine's Fast Fresh & Easy Food. The thing is, I don't really care about recipes being fast, fresh and easy. If I need to make something fast, I probably won't follow a recipe, I'll just draw on my repertoire of things I can cook in a hurry. Almost everything I eat is fresh, so that just isn't isn't a big selling point for me. And easy? Well... I am actually a pretty fair cook, so there are a lot of techniques that I consider easy. So it hasn't been a series I have sought out at all, but it was a good way to spend the odd half hour of leisure time.

One recipe that caught my eye before I found her mannerisms too irritating to watch any more was this panfried mascarpone gnocchi, with pesto. I was impressed by the idea that it was quicker than potato gnocchi, and anything as a vehicle for pesto is OK by me.

It... was not an unqualified success. For one thing it really is not a lot quicker than potato gnocchi. Maybe if you do use 2 frying pans it might be, but for me with one pan it was not. It was also very stodgy. I don't know if that is because I took a cheaper route and used cream cheese instead of mascarpone, but I don't think that would make too much difference (the amount of flour it took was the same, so it wasn't drier or anything). When I've made gnudi before - which is probably a closer analogue than potato gnocchi - they've been very light and delicate but these were quite heavy.

Now, normally when I make pesto I add some of the pasta cooking water to the sauce to loosen it and help it coat the pasta, but when you fry the gnocchi you don't have that nice starchy water. So the pesto sat in clumps in the bowl. What with one thing and another the dish didn't live up to the promise it showed on TV! However, it wasn't a total loss. Because it was so heavy, we had loads left over. I layered them in a pyrex dish with some slices of aubergine, covered them in a thick tomato sauce and blanketed them with grated cheese, then baked them. This form was much, much more successful! The gnocchi were much lighter and fluffier after they absorbed some of the tomato sauce. If I make these again, I am going to try boiling them and serving them in a sauce rather than doing them according to the recipe again.

Looks better than it tastes


ali said...

You are funny. I agree, too, about not caring about things being fast, fresh and easy. That's all the rage these days! Love the idea of your layered baked gnocchi with aubergine. Yum!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

That was a nice save in the end! Better luck next time - maybe with the boiling method.

Unknown said...

Well, they look quite delicious despite your problems!

kat said...

Bummer because the idea of panfried gnocchi sounds so good to me.

mscrankypants said...

It does look great, and I'm sorry that looks are so deceiving.

One dish I never tried was baked gnocchi from Cerabona's in Melbourne. I always had the pumpkin ravioli as it was so good, but apparently the baked gnocchi was gnocchi, cheese, cheese and more cheese and baked until the cheese topping was bronwed.

Joanne said...

I'm not into the whole quick and easy cooking thing can't get quality with a quick fix! I love the sound of these mascarpone gnocchi though!

Choclette said...

Well the photograph looks good and the use of mascarpone sounds appealing and as you say, anything coated in pesto is going to be very tasty. Shame they didn't quite live up to their promise.


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