I take pride in very few of my abilities. I am wary of the danger of hubris, and attempt to keep my ego in check. Having said that, cooking is one of the things that I believe I do well. I like the food I cook, and while that alone is hardly an endorsement for culinary expertise, other people compliment my cooking and remark as to how tasty my dishes are. Few of those people then run out of the room and make exagerated gagging noises from the latrine.

I enjoy cooking and enjoy trying new recipes. Lately I have taken to modifying recipes I see on TV. I omit or include ingredients as they are avialable in my pantry or as my mood changes. These creations almost always turn out quite well, and when one turns out to be exceptional I record the adjusted recipe here.

Having said all that, let me state thusly; Gnocchi is not for the faint of heart. I needed a side dish the other evening and decided that this would be a good time to try gnocchi. I had seen it on Mario eats Italy, and had been dying to try it.

Gnocchi is essentially boiled potatoes, mixed with egg and flour as a binding agent, then shaped and re-boiled. Done properly and seasoned subtly, it makes an excellent side dish. Or, so I'm told. I still haven't partaken of any good gnocchi.

My attempt reads like a laundry list of what not to do, and how not to do it. I made so many culinary fauxpas that in the end I felt like a rookie. I started with too many potatoes. I added the egg while the recently mashed potatoes were still too hot. I decided to forgo the traditional method of kneading the resulting dough by hand, and intead put it all in my mixer. The egg, of course, did not mix in because I failed to temper it, but instead cooked in the hot potato.

The recipe called for one extra large egg, three pounds of potatoes and two cups of flour. Not enough potatoes meant too much flour. The potatoes did not bind, but instead formed a sticky, pasty, goo that refused to roll out. Because it would not roll out I tryed to drop the mixture by spoonfulls into the boiling water. Because they were not an even size, they did not cook evenly. Some where hard, others were soft and mushy. I ended up only rolling out half the dough, so when I went to toss them in a pan with melted butter and prosciutto, I had too much butter in the pan. Now I have hot melted butter all over the stove and some of the ceiling.

The resulting mess ended up looking much like deep fried mashed potatoes. It wasn't pretty and tasted even worse. I ate a small amount. My SO bravely consumed a spoonfull before admitting that she found it unpleasent. I threw the rest of the mess out. Gnocchi has humbled me.

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