Although Chrissy Teigen is mostly known for her supermodel status and witty twitter account, she recently decided to share some of her favorite recipes in a cookbook called Cravings. In the introduction, Chrissy says, “If you’re expecting a model to write a cookbook full of diet recipes for you to perfect your bikini bod, I think you’ll be a little surprised here.” The book, like Chrissy herself, is eclectic, funny, and pretty to look at.
After making a few successful recipes, I decided to venture into her section titled, “Things That Intimidate People But Shouldn’t.” I wanted something challenging but do-able, so I settled on her Sweet Potato Gnocchi. After a mediocore attempt, I learned that, as in much of life, expectations and reality don’t always exactly match up.
Overall, my attempt at a “non-intimidating recipe” was very poor. Dough is always a daunting task, but I think I was doomed from the start with a microwave fire. Follow the expectation instructions as closely as you can and see how you fare!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Servings: 2 servings
- Advanced Course
Expectation: Pierce sweet potato all over with a fork, wrap in a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 12-13 minutes or until it’s very soft.
Reality: Because I actually had a few small sweet potatoes instead of one large, I decided to cook three separately.
Everything was going fine until the third sweet potato, when I saw smoke coming out of the microwave at about 11 minutes. I quickly opened the door, and was immediately engulfed in smoke. The paper towel had caught on fire.
This mishap taught me a few things: It’s hard to get the smell of smoke out of your clothes, our apartment’s smoke alarms are broken, and new microwaves are expensive.
Avoid a mistake like mine by learning how to properly steam a potato here.
Expectation: Peel the sweet potato and mash it with a potato masher or ricer in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the ricotta, pepper, and salt, then scatter the flour into the mixture. Mix with a fork until a doughy mixture forms that’s loose and shaggy but doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Reality: Since my potatoes were smaller, I didn’t get nearly enough sweet potato to adequately make this recipe. I was too traumatized from the fire to try to cook another one, so I decided to just cut all the ingredients in half. I do not recommend this. There are recipes for a reason.
Expectation: In a large pasta pot, boil a large gallon of water over high heat and salt until it tastes good.
Reality: I adjusted the amount of water to accommodate my smaller amount of ingredients. This was also probably unnecessary, so stick with the real recipe.
Expectation: Flour your work surface and put the dough on it. Flour your hands and gently knead the dough 10 times until it is no longer sticky. Add sprinkles of flour when necessary.
Reality: The dough was barely sticking together at all, so I had to push it together as best as I could and stick with the clumps that actually formed. Again, probably a result of my low potato supply.
#SpoonTip: Knead the dough by folding the dough in half, pressing gently with the heel of your hand, and turning it 90 degrees each time.
Expectation: Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and gently roll them into balls. Using your hands, roll one ball of dough into a 12-inch-long, 1-inch thick log. Use a paring knife to cut the dough crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough balls to form about 36 gnocchi.
Reality: The over-floured dough did not roll well for me, and I had trouble making the balls stick together. Since I had cut the recipe in half, I only made about 18 average-looking gnocchi, which was pretty accurate for a half of the desired 36.
Expectation: Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, stirring after about 1 minute to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they float to the surface for a few seconds and are tender-firm.
Reality: This part actually went surprisingly well. I didn’t have much trouble but decided to cook them for two minutes longer because I didn’t think they were floating at the surface long enough.
Expectation: Drain the gnocchi (don’t rinse it) and toss with butter.
Reality: So the gnocchi actually just turned to mush in the pot instead of cooking. I figured it was too late to turn back and decided to just top it with things that might make it taste better at the end. Butter always helps.
Expectation: Divide among bowls and garnish with feta cheese.
Reality: Despite all of my mistakes, the gnocchi ended up tasting pretty good. I added feta, salt, and pepper for flavor, then eventually dumped on hot sauce because it makes everything better.