This was my third time making gnocchi and I swear it only gets easier each time. This is a classic comfort food recipe but it has a slight twist. The twist being that gnocchi is used instead of plain ol' dumplings. This meal is served over a homemade basil pesto that is filled with mushrooms, carrots and celery. Definitely better than any chik'n and dumplings I've had in the past. Did I mention that the gnocchi is also lightly tossed in lemon butter? Yeah, this is a must try for anyone that loves Italian food.
* 5 Tb extra virgin olive oil, divided
* 1 package of Morningstar Chik'n Strips
* 4 Tb vegan margarine, divided
* 10-12 large button mushrooms, sliced
* 1 cup shredded carrot, about 2 carrots
* 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 Tb all-purpose flour
* 3 cups vegan "chicken" stock ( try Better than Bouillon ) or vegetable stock
* 1 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped
* 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan
* 1 lemon, zested
* 3 medium sized russet potatoes
* 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork than wrap in foil and bake for 60 minutes or until soft.
While the potatoes cook, start making your sauce
2. Heat a pot with 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chick'n and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove from pan and set aside in a small bowl.
3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of margarine to the same pan and heat. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir to coat all the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. While this cooks, your chick'n should have cooled down by down. Roughly chop the strips into bite sized pieces.
6. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups of the stock, slide the chick'n back into the pot and simmer to allow the sauce to thicken.
7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of stock in a food processor, along with the basil, parsley, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Turn processor on and drizzle in two tablespoons of olive oil.
8. By now your potatoes should be done baking. Cover and place the pot of sauce on low heat and keep aside.
9. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
10. Remove the foil from the potatoes and start peeling away the skin. Do not allow them to cool, you must work with them hot. I suggest using a towel to protect your hands from burning. Using a knife, such as a paring knife, worked best to help me peel away the skin.
11. Place the potatoes in a ricer or food mill and mash. If you do not have one, a fork will work just as well. Spread them out onto a cutting board and allow them to cool for 2 to 5 minutes.
12. Gather the potatoes and sprinkle half a cup of flour over them. Mix by hand until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if the dough feels too sticky.
13. Divide the dough into about 5 pieces. Grab each piece and roll them out into 1/2 inch thick log shapes.
14. Cut the logs into 1 inch pieces and dust with flour. To shape the gnocchi, roll each pillow on the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board. Place all the shaped gnocchi on a lightly floured plate.
15. By now your water should be boiling. Add the gnocchi, a couple at a time, and cook for a minute or two, until they float to the surface. Allow them to stay in 30 seconds longer and then remove using a slotted spoon. Drain well.
16. Melt 2 tablespoons of margarine in a skillet over medium heat with the lemon zest. Toss the gnocchi in the lemon butter and cook until golden brown on edges, about 3 minutes.
17. Turn off heat on the chick'n and stir in the pesto sauce.
Serve the chick'n in shallow bowls and top with gnocchi.
On a side note, I've been playing around with a new Mamiya Polaroid camera and of course the star of the show is my Taffy. Here's a recent one of him...I love how Polaroids make every picture look so vintage.