My intent with this month’s Daring Cooks challenge wasn’t to wait until the last minute. Although I suppose it’s never anyone aim, really. Or at the very least most people wouldn’t admit it. But it happened. Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with! And me, being a bit bogged down this month with work and condo searching I left it until tonight.
And I found myself in the kitchen at 8 pm after a long day of work making Chestnut Gnocchi. It’d stumbled upon the recipe in The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken two years ago, but always had one excuse or another not to make it. Too many carbs. Too many calories. I’d pick up the recipe every once and awhile. I even bought a pricey bag of chestnut flour at the farmers’ market last year. And yet, I’d always talk myself out of it.
Thankfully, this challenge was enough for me to silence that inner voice. I made my chestnut gnocchi and topped the mixture off some homemade basil and garlic scape pesto spike with half and half and embellished with some crisped pancetta and peas. Though the whole dish took quite a bit of effort (3 hours, including rest time & pesto making) I was pretty pleased with my first pass. The dough was very crumbly and finicky before being cooked but I was promised that this was the secret to light and fluffy gnocchi. And it really seemed to work. I can’t remember the last time I had gnocchi so it was hard to make a mental comparison, but these were feather light and very tender. (Thank god too because I had a fear of them being like hockey pucks.) I also loved the chestnut flour in the dough. It made the dough nutty and ever so sweet. I was nervous about how it would pair with my planned sauce but in reality it worked! The sweetness of the gnocchi was the perfect match for the sweet basil.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with my first pass. I’m not posting the recipe because it was just so finicky that it feels like it needs a bit of finessing before I’d feel comfortable passing it on to anyone else. But I can definitely guarantee that this won’t be the last time I make gnocchi and once I land on a recipe that’s a sure winner I’ll gladly put it up.