We’re back from a few days of off-season fun on Martha’s Vineyard. We walked in the rain, took the puppy into the cold ocean, looked for shells and seaglass, annoyed siblings in the car, tried to further annoy siblings at dinner/back in the car/at the fudge shop/in front of ye olde houses, made siblings nearly choke from laughing so much, played with alpacas and ate everything from lobster rolls to vegetable crunch. To avoid the back-from-vacation with nothing in the fridge, I planned ahead. The potato gnocchi were in the fridge with the organic chicken breasts. I’ll go on record here and just say that while I cook chicken sometimes for my family and I love the brined organic turkey I make at Thanksgiving, chicken kind of grosses me out. It just does. Sorry. Anyway, I still make it and just take the vegetarian route much of the time myself. Except for bacon. And a filet mignon here and there. I prefer not to classify and just enjoy.
My husband doesn’t eat any bread products for the 8 days of Passover. This meal is perfect for him. Two kinds of Gnocchi (I made tomato and plain) and sealed them in bags. They take 3 minutes to cook in salted, boiling water. When they had finished cooking, I added a few giant handfuls of broccoli florets and a full pound of baby spinach right to the gnocchi water – this is great for flavoring. Meanwhile, in my trusty skillet, I heated olive oil and cooked the chicken on medium-high heat until it was nicely browned on both sides. Then I cut up 2 breasts for the others to share (even when I do make meat, I try to “stretch” it by adding beans or produce). A splash of olive oil on the gnocchi made a nice coating, especially when I drained the vegetables and added them to the dumplings. The chicken went on top.
And the nearly 4-year-old started to cry, “I don’t YIKE it.” His L is still a Y. No, we’re not thinking about speech therapy, but thanks for you concern. The kid can explain his feelings and pretend cook better than Julia Childs herself, and writes his name and plays ping pong. Anyway, what he did when he tasted the pasta-like dinner was cry: “I don’t yike dis dinner. It is disgustin’ no offense. I yust want to eat the vegetables. Is dat okay?”
So, yes, it was okay. But you should know that going into the gnocchi preparations that you might toil over the proper ratio of matzo flour to potato and be greeted by an over-tired, adorable, lisping, 4-year-old who hates them.
Bake 2 lbs of potatoes and let them cool. Scrape the insides and mash (save the skins for crispy potato skins – yum!). Add in 2 eggs and fold until well-mixed. Add in a big sprinkling of salt and pepper. If you like, add a tablespoon of tomato paste (this will result in “red” gnocchi). Or do pesto (“green”). Add 1/2 cup of matzo flour and stir. Add another 1/4 cup and see how the texture is. You might need another 1/4 cup. It should be fairly “kneadable” but soft and not too sticky to handle.
Dust a work surface with a bit more matzo flour. Make the dough into 4 equal-ish parts. Roll the dough out into “snakes” (kids’ description) about 1 inch wide. Cut into pieces and form into ovals. You can press them with fork tines (great thing for kids to do) for that traditional look.
Bring a big pot of water to boil and season with 1 tsp salt. Drop in 1/3 of the gnocchi at a time, cooking each batch for about 2-3 minutes (they will float but keep them cooking for the time stated). Use the water to quickly cook any greens you have around. Serve those with the warm gnocchi – feel free to grate some cheese on top, or splash with olive oil or dot with butter or serve with drained, warmed cannellini beans…