My first title was Gnocchelettis. Of course, there is no such word. Only my hybrids translated from my Croatian mind to English language feat. Italian dish names. Which can be a pretty mushy stew of grammar and synthax so… please bear with me. Luckily, Google is our friend so I realised that there IS an Italian dish called Gnocchetti which is something between Gnocchi and a little dumplings.
Anyhoo. What which we call a Gnocchi by any other name would taste as sweet, right? With sweet potatoe, or potatoe itself. The confusion with the name came from the fact that I was too busy and trying to quicken and simplify the whole thing as much as possible so I didn’t make a rope and cut little cylinders like it’s done when making Gnocchi, but I rolled the dough and cut the pieces out.
Speaking of. What is that little zig zag wheel pasta cutter called? I never know. Do you?
In Croatia we call that Radl, from German word Rad which means wheel. I’m not sure of the proper Croatian word for this kitchen gadget either. In Eastern Croatia, where I grew up, there is a mischung (another German word for mix) of German and Hungarian words, because for centuries those nations have been migrating and living in this place. And cooking. And doing everything all people do. So now I’m left with plethora of words that are not official Croatian words that are used in books and on TV and so, but often in everyday speech. And more often than not I cannot for the life of me think of Croatian word for something, rather than Štrajher (that thing for sharpening knives), Bademantel (bathrobe) or Šufnudle.
Šufnudle? That’s all this post is all about! It’s pronounced Shufnudle, again twisted from German Schupfnudeln which means and brings us again to – GNOCCHI! And I’m saying Šufnudle because my grandma always called it so. And everyone I know. Not because we have anything against Italian name or it’s any different. Only because in years, where I grew up, it’s just called that way.
Which, called by any other name would taste as great.
Provided that you are not butter fingered soul like me so simple thing like Gnocchi making turns into a disaster floating fallen apart in thick water.
Alas! My mom and my grandmas and my aunts and every freaking one I know in last, ahem, some years of my life, made enough Gnocchi to make an orbit around the Moon. And it is so easy, said they! Just mash the potatoes, put some flour, crack an egg, put some water to boil and that’s that.
And that’s that I did and argh, it all went down the drain. Because it would always fall apart and make my kitchen a mess and myself rather unhappy. And hungry.
So what is the secret? My grandma never measured anything. Eyeballing was never my forte so I looked up for recipes with measures. That went down the drain too. But to make the drain story short: it’s not because those recipes were wrong. It was just me, overcooking the darn dumplings. And the main reason: my grandma made gummy, chevy and dense dumplings that could not be recreated by any of those recipes. So that’s why it didn’t work. Because grandma was doing it all wrong.
So I was doing it all wrong and it didn’t go well till I made completely wrong Gnocchi and went over my head with happiness when I succeeded.
And how did I do that? Again, just by going through my pantry and finding some sweet potatoe waiting to be put into some good use or wilt and die. And we cannot have that, don’t we? My dear friend Nico from great vegan blog Yumsome told me recently that there is a whole Give up binning food campaign in Great Britain, which I think is an excellent idea and even better reminder of “count your blessings” issue. Because so much food gets wasted in the world every day. So much people are hungry in the world every day.
The thought of that devastates me. Especially when I do throw something that went bad. And I think, now that could have been a great meal for someone when it was all fresh. And now it’s in the bin. And I cannot feed the world, except helping out only few in need. But I can get more thoughtful. I can stop wasting precious food. Just because I don’t lack food, it doesn’t make it any less precious as it would be for someone who is in desperate lack of it. I can share this idea so it goes even further than for just one month. You can share it too. Till it becomes a way of life and really help those who desperately need food.
Just to be clear: these Gnocchi are not too chewy and dense. They are just about right in consistency so they don’t fall apart even if you’re butter fingered like me and behave nicely on the plate. Gnochi, I mean, not you, hehe. Once cooked, drained and dressed with some olive oil they won’t stick or get mushy, but be nice, soft and before all, so tasty.
Sweet potatoe gives them great sun tanned colour and bit of a nutty taste. Chia plays the egg roll and few speckles on their tanned faces. And you go and dress them up in any delicious sauce you like and make both of you and them happy. Or just have them with a bit of olive oil and sunflower seeds, with some ever strong oppinionated arugula, soy sauce and lemon on the side. You can certanly be more diligent than me and make proper Gnocchi cut from cylinders of dough and rolled over a fork.
Sweet potatoe&Chia Gnocchi
300 g sweet potatoe, cooked and well drained
300 g all purpose flour + some more for dusting
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 tsp salt
Cut the peeled sweet potatoe in big cubes and cook for 15 – 20 mins or till the fork goes all the way through. Drain them well, mash and leave to cool a bit so you can work with them and not burn yourself. Add Chia, salt and the flour (not all at once) and make an elastic, nonsticky dough. Don’t overknead it: when the dough is no longer sticky, stop. You might need a handful of flour more. Or not. It all depends on the flour and the amount of water in sweet potatoes. Bring a big pot of water to boil. You can add 1 tbsp of salt and bayleaf or two to the cooking water. Make a few ropes and cut the Gnocchi out or just dust working surface a bit with flour, roll the dough as thick as your thumb and cut the pieces out. Dust off the Gnocchi a bit and put them into the boiling water. Stir gently to lift them up. When water starts boiling again and the Gnocchi start dancing, cook them for another 3 – 5 mins. Take Gnocchi out with a slotted spoon, drain well, pour a little olive oil, toss gently and serve immediately to ones you love. Along with desired seasonings, sauces or salads.