In the Kitchen: Gnocchi with Bacon Cream Sauce and Peas

I like rountine. I like lists and knowing exactly what’s going to happen when it happens. Except when I don’t. I have these spurts of needing to do something different that won’t go away until I go and do something different. I usually dye my hair or go get a tattoo. So when I got this burst of the need for change this week, I was stumped. I’ve recently lightened and then re-dyed my hair so I couldn’t do that. I just got a tattoo so that was out. Plus I have no money. So, I decided I could take to the kitchen and cook something different. 

I knew I had all the stuff I needed to make homemade gnocchi so I decided to make a dinner completely from scratch. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of microwave and mix quick cheats for meals. It’s easier on weeknights and cheaper. But the food’s not as good. You sacrifice quality over time. 

I’ve only ever made gnocchi one time before – for our 1st wedding anniversary. So, in 2012. But I’ve been wanting to try again. I consulted a few different recipes online for some guideline especially since I wanted to use instant potato flakes instead of dealing with whole potatoes. (Alright, maybe it wasn’t 100% from scratch) So, I got some basic idea of what I was aiming for ingredient and measurement wise (none of the recipes could seem to agree on how much of each item to use) and made my own. Here it is: 

Take 1 cup of instant potato flakes and add 1 cup of the hottest water you can get from your faucet. Or microwave it or use a stove. Whatever works best for you. I’m lazy so I just use the tap. Mix it together all nice and neat. Add one egg. Blend it all together. If it’s too dry, add a splash of water, but don’t get it too wet.

 

Next add whatever seasonings you want. I had dried basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I went with about ½ teaspoon for them, but Josh said the gnocchi didn’t have much flavor (I disagreed). So, figure out what works best for you. If you like bold flavors, go big. Then add 1 ½ cups of flour. I used my hands to get it all mixed and kneaded into a ball. Then start taking pieces and rolling it out into long strips. You can be fancy and use a fork to indent the top, but that’s up to you. The little ridges are supposed to help hold the sauce. It seemed like an extra step to me and I skip those when it’s a week night. They turned out fine without them.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil. I took a pair of cooking scissors and just cut the little shapes into the water over the pot. You can cut them on the board beforehand if you want. Personally, I like to cut mine smaller. The bigger ones are a bit more doughy tasting. Leave them be until they float. Scoop them out and let them rest.

 

Sauce time! This recipe I’ve had since back in 2012. I found it somewhere on the internet. I certainly don’t take credit for it. It’s a cream sauce with bacon. It’s not exactly healthy, but it’s really good.

 

I cooked three strips of bacon. Took out most of the grease. Left a little for flavor though. Then I put in about 1 tablespoon of butter. Once it started melting, I took the bacon I chopped up and added it back in. Then I added onions. I usually use yellow onions for this sauce, but I had green onions that I needed to use cause they were headed south. So, I sliced then up, green and white, and put them in. You have to let the onions soften and then you add peas. I had a pretty big amount because I had defrosted them earlier in the week and taken about ½ cup out of the bag. We love peas though so it wasn’t a big deal for us. I’d say add ½-¾ cup depending on your love of them. Get the peas warm and then add a cup of milk. Now, the original recipe called for pancetta and half and half. I’m poor and cooking for my husband and a toddler who mostly feeds hers to the dog. So, I use what I have – milk and bacon. However, the fancy ingredients would definitely make for a fancier end result.

 

You let the milk mix all in, salt and pepper it, and let is simmer until it’s thickened some. When it’s where you want it, add the gnocchi to the pan, mix it all together, and let it heat the gnocchi back up to warm. Then you eat!

 

Josh thought the gnocchi were too doughy, and, like I said, smaller seems better for this recipe. I’ve only ever made gnocchi twice, and it was with instant potatoes. I’m sure real potatoes give you a much better consistency. I also think I overworked the dough. It’s really important to not do that, and I went ahead and did it anyways.

 

The sauce was a hit. Even the toddler drank it out of her bowl.

It helped scratch the different itch. I love cooking a full fancy meal and wish I had the time and resources to do it more often. Maybe I’ll try sneaking more meals like this in on a regular basis. 

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