Good evening all,
My meal tonight was very spontaneous and very much a “leftover meal”- I seem to be having many of those recently! However, it was different but very enjoyable.
Gnocchi is a mixture of pasta and potato. Apparently it is ‘a pasta for potato lovers’. They are small Italian dumplings usually made from potato, flour (traditionally buckwheat flour) and egg and shaped into small ovals with a ridged pattern on one side. They can also be made from semolina flour, as they are in Rome. Gnocchi is odd because it has the texture similar to pasta but it tastes of potato. I have never come across anything like it yet it is Moorish! Furthermore, it is a great alternative if you’re sick of pasta and potato!
Personally, I have only had gnocchi once before in Frankie and Bennies a few years ago and I actually came across it by mistake. I chose that particular dish thinking that gnocchi was going to be an additional item such as cheese to elevate the dish… What a shock I had when I tried my first mouthful! I was so surprised by the gnocchi that I even complained to the waitress at the time thinking that the pasta had been overcooked! She looked at me with surprise and explained to me what gnocchi was and even offered to change my meal if I didn’t like it. I kept the dish as I couldn’t decid whether I liked it or not and I didn’t feel I could change the dish because it was my own fault I didn’t read the menu properly! I was so embarrassed.
Anyway, that awful experience is what gave me the idea for my meal! On the way home yesterday, I popped into Tesco to see what bargains I could find for dinner and I stumbled across a bag of gnocchi reduced to 70p. I had to buy it and give it another try! I couldn’t quite remember the meal I ordered at the time but I knew it was some sort of bake therefore that is what I tried!
I used random ingredients that I had in the cupboards to complete this dish. Firstly, I defrosted two pieces of Basa fish and then two pieces of salmon. I would have preferred to have made the dish with beef mince so it would be closer to an Italian lasagne but I didn’t have any meat therefore I used fish instead.
I diced half of a white onion and half a red one and a few cloves of garlic then added that to a wok. Next I poured a carton of tomato passata and a can of chopped tomatoes. I let the onion and tomato start to simmer before I added the peas, spinach, fish and spices. I used pepper, salt, paprika, chilli flakes, basil, mixed herbs and oregano. Finally, I just let the spicy tomato and fish mixture to simmer gently.
Meanwhile, I lined a casserole dish with gnocchi and grated the cheese to finish the bake. Once the fish is cooked and the tomato mixture is ready, I poured it on top of the gnocchi and put it in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes. Then I topped the bake with a handful of grated cheese and put it back in the oven to melt. The gnocchi only takes about 3 minutes to cook in boiling water therefore it cooked in the juices of the tomato sauce.
The meal was accomplished by throwing together random bits I had in the kitchen cupboards. It was very simple and overall didn’t take more than 30 minutes! I would definitely have it again!
I hope this inspires you to try something different and not be afraid to try and make a meal out of random items- it could turn out better than you think!