Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gnocci Anyone?

I haven't posted in a very long time, so here's an adventure in cooking.

Tonight I had the random inclination to create a dish using gnocci (potato pasta). I've never cooked anything with gnocci before so this was just a random idea in my head. I took a package of gnocci, a jar of Newman's Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo sauce, some spinach, chicken breast, and cilantro and got to work.

Idea of the dish was this: Lightly marinate the chicken and pan fry it. Heat up the sauce and add thinly sliced fresh spinach in it until it had nearly a third spinach consistency (almost like creamed spinach but no where near that thick). Cook the gnocci, then on the plate put gnocci on the bottom, then chicken (probably about 1/2 of a chicken breast worth cut up in small chunks), then sauce, then cilantro on top. It turned out good, but definitely needs some refining.

First off, I did not have the proper ingredients for a quick marinade. I wanted olive oil but was all out. Instead, I used 2/3 vegetable oil and 1/3 white vinegar with garlic, basil, and fresh cilantro. As I didn't have a couple of hours for this to marinate, I forked the marinade into the chicken and let sit for about 5-10 minutes (it was already 9:00 and I was hungry). Then I threw the chicken in a preheated skillet and cooked covered for a few minutes before I stupidly realized that the chicken would take forever to cook unless I sliced it up. So slicing I did, while it was cooking in the pan and finished cooking the chicken uncovered. Then I started slicing up the spinach for the sauce (oh, this has been slowly heating the whole time). It actually took a LOT more spinach than I thought it would to get what I was looking for. The gnocci was easy...3 minutes in boiling water and tah-dah, done. With the sauce, chicken, and gnocci done, it was time to eat it.

The results: Good, but, properly marinating the chicken would have made this dish much better. Also, a little fresh cilantro goes a LONG way and there is definitely no reason to put 2 whole leaves worth on your dish like I did (maybe I put three...what in the world was I thinking!). In the end, the dish was overwhelmed by the cilantro but luckily still good.

Next time, much less cilantro and a better marinade for the chicken :)

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