Just perfect, aren’t they, these little gnocchi? Well, yes they are – pillowy puffs of perfection – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Gnocchi from his latest book, Veg – releasing October 22nd in the US/ Canada and called “Ultimate Veg” on this side of the pond (why?).
I’ve basically bookmarked every recipe in this book – I ordered it from the UK as I couldn’t wait an extra 2 months for the North American publication date and also wanted the original (i.e. metric and with weight measurements, not volume) – and thought this one would be a great recipe to try with the boys (and use up the butternut squash I had at home leftover from recipe development!). I’ve made gnocchi many many times before with the boys and I know it’s a favourite activity (so hands on, so much fun!) so I was excited to try this recipe with them. Basically it’s potatoes, squash, a little flour for the gnocchi then you serve it with a parsley pesto (we left out the walnuts and used extra Parmesan and parsley for a different but nut-free pesto). Only a handful of ingredients – what could go wrong?
Well, nothing per se. But this is the first time in the history of cooking club (celebrating 10 years in January!) that I have not had another teacher helping me out. I had completely underestimated (and underappreciated) how much I need that help because making this “simple” recipe with 10 kids in under an hour was, shall we say, slightly over ambitious! Add to the lack of adult help the fact that I only have 15 minutes between the end of my past class and the start of cooking club and you have a situation which calls for EXTREME organisation, not the lackadaisical effort I showed up with on Monday!
Perhaps I am a victim of my own publicity – “cooking with kids is easy”… uh huh but my first rule for cooking with kids is getting organised and I most certainly wasn’t organised enough on Monday. The boys, however, did a great job with this recipe and I’m trying to focus on that while planning ahead and trying to figure out how to make things work in the new circumstances….
I even did some prep at home…
The boys did a GREAT job peeling and chopping potatoes and the rest of the squash…
Once the squash and potato were cooked, we drained it and spread it out on trays to cool it down quickly… Then we got to mash it!
Then we got to making the dough…
It’s here that things kind of fell apart a bit. I can’t get around to every boy when there are 10 of them doing something so hands on and some of them needed help making their dough less sticky (and actually the more you knead a dough with not enough flour in it, the harder it gets to fix!) so I had a few boys leave with the dough in a ball ready to roll and cut at home (it was just unworkable after they had tried hard to get it to cooperate, way too soft and warm!). But most of them left with lovely gnocchi ready to cook!
Lesson learned: Follow your own advice, Mardi! Get yourself more organised! Maybe I could have had the water boiling earlier so it didn’t take so long to cook the veg. With an hour maximum time to work with, I know every minute counts. I’ll do better next time so the boys are set up for more success.
The boys made squash gnocchi in an hour (mostly). So, there’s that which is incredible in itself!
Purchase Veg (called “Ultimate Veg” in the US/ Canada and out on October 22) for yourselves on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store closest to you). Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.
Please note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I have been a contributor to JamieOliver.Com, and was a Food Revolution “Super Ambassador” for Canada for 6 years, though I was supporting Jamie’s cause well before I was doing any of those things. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know how much of a Jamie fan I am and how strongly I believe in his message. I was not asked to write about this book, I purchased it myself.
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