We spent the long weekend at home, puttering. Staring at gaping holes in the ceiling and barely (if at all) functioning kitchen appliances and broken windows and walls that are easier at this point to paint than to clean and making a ginormous to-do list for it all. Considering the domino effect that starting to change this and that has on a house, it seems kitchen renos are not only unavoidable, but imminent. Which of course means no kitchen for awhile. TRY NOT TO PANIC.
We got used to the idea of eating out by doing it this weekend. Since we were mostly trying to find homes for things, cleaning/organizing/yard work-ing, I didn’t cook a whole lot, but did use up a big bunch of spinach by making gnudi – sort of like larger, lighter, lumpier gnocchi – and sauteing the little dumplings in browned butter. Spring, hello.
I love gnocchi, and it’s even fun to make, without the need to own and manipulate a a pasta machine. But more often than not – even when we do eat out – I feel afterwards as if I’ve eaten a bowl of dough lumps. They can be too dense, too heavy, too chewy. Not always, but it happens.
Gnudi are far lighter – so much so that it can seem as if they won’t hold themselves together.
(The first time I made them, they didn’t.)
You shape them by scooping up a spoonful, then passing them back and forth from one spoon to another to shape in kind of pointy-ended egg shapes – yes, making quenelles – which is impossible to do without feeling all Top Cheffy about it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about and need a little video on how-to quenelle, there are many online. Like this one.)
You then dust them with flour, and gently, gingerly boil them. And then, like most gnocchi, they’re perfectly OK to eat as-is, with a dribble of browned butter.
But if you want to go one step further – and why wouldn’t you? – you can brown them in a hot pan with browned butter, making them all toasty and caramelized on the outside. Oh yes.
And if you have a teeny cast iron skillet you picked up for a few dollars at a garage sale (’tis the season!), all the better.
Is there anything better than crispy bits with browned butter and cheese? I think not.