Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Cheese and Potato Gnocchi

A bunch of pillowy gnocchi get an extra boost of protein and tenderness from pureed cottage cheese and a couple scoops of @nakednutrition Naked Rice protein powder. A quick 12 minute par-bake in a 450F oven sets the outsides so they don't fall apart in storage or the cooking process.

Some days inspiration comes out of the blue. I was planning sides for a roast duck planned for one of the nights N would be over (he loves when I roast it like this on a bed of veggies) and realized there was no plan for leftovers... sacrilege! However, I did have... some ingredients on hand, none of which were enough for a side dish for more than one person. I immediately thought of making a duck gravy to top a starch, namely potatoes, since I remembered the days of Thanksgiving leftovers prepared just like that. However, the heat and humidity had rendered all but one potato useless, so I immediately thought of my fallback plan - gnocchi!

For this batch I was also lucky enough to be given a carton of no-name cottage cheese that my sister bought but didn't like the taste of - when pureed, it was ricotta-smooth in texture and worked identically to the Italian cheese in the recipe! A tiny squeeze of lemon juice added the light tang ricotta normally has, and I added a bit of extra salt and some pepper to boost the flavour as well. In addition to the flour, I added in two scoops of the Naked Rice protein powder I had on hand, which not only added nutrition but kept the dough tender (not chewy like the gluten-heavy gnocchi can be). After mixing, I immediately rolled and cut out the dough and gave it a par-bake to help it hold it's shape - a step that once I learned it I will never forget! Cooked and cooled, the pillows were packed up in a ziploc and stored in the fridge for the three days till I needed it - any longer and I would have frozen the trays before bagging!

The best part about this recipe, for me, was that it made the perfect portion for 4 people as part of a meal. Not only did N have dinner one night (recipe forthcoming!) but he had enough leftovers for the next few days after adding a fresh salad or some steamed broccoli!
Cheese and Potato Gnocchi
Adapted from Pinch of Italy
Serves 2-4
400-450 g Russet (baking) potato, whole
250 g 2% cottage cheese
1 egg
2 scoops Naked Rice protein powder (optional, you can swap with potato starch)
1 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
100 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Prick the potato all over with a fork and wrap in foil (this helps the potato steam for a more even cook and moister potato).
  3. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until baked through. Let cool 10 minutes, then peel and transfer flesh into a large bowl, mashing well.
  4. Raise the oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment.
  5. While the potato is baking, puree the cottage cheese, egg, protein powder, salt and pepper until smooth.
  6. Pour cheese mixture into the potato and mix well.
  7. Add the flour and baking powder and mix to form a soft but not sticky dough.
  8. Roll portions of the dough into long snakes (about 3/4" - 1" thick) and cut into individual gnocchi. You can press with a fork if you want ridges but I didn't bother.
  9. Place the individual gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet and bake 12 minutes, until the outsides are set and beginning to lightly brown. 
  10. Let cool completely before storing, or use immediately (boil for 3 minutes or saute in olive oil till crisp).

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