Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Food Storage Noqui (Gnocchi)

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you that Shelf Reliance has just launched a new line of Express Meals, for those of you who don't want to cook but want something healthy for your family to eat. I've heard great things about all 12 sides and entrees, so check out the new flier and let me know if you have any questions. They've also got a few new food, shelving, and emergency items as well. As always, when you are ready to place an order for any Shelf Reliance products of THRIVE foods, just contact me and I'll make sure you get the lowest price possible.

Also, a new price list will take effect on May 2nd, so be on the look out. Now on to the recipe!

For those of you who don't know, I spent over a year living in the Buenos Aires region of Argentina down in South America after I graduated college. I went down there to do missionary work for my church. Along with many lessons learned, friendships forged, and memories made, I also came home with a handful of souvenirs, including this little device:

It's a noqui maker. (There should be a little squiggle mark above the n, but I don't know how to type that in blogger.) It's pronounced nyoh-kee. You might know them by their Italian name: Gnocchi. (The cuisine in Argentina is as much Italian as anything else.) Noquis are a potato dumpling type of pasta dish, and are quite tasty.  One very practical friend down in Argentina showed me how to make them using instant potatoes instead of taking the time to boil and mash whole potatoes myself.  I have adapted that recipe to make a great Spinach Noqui using only THRIVE ingredients, and I am quite pleased with it, especially since it is such a quick and easy meal! (If you don't care for spinach, you can omit that ingredient, though you may need to add a pinch more flour to compensate if you do.)

Here's how to make it:

Bring a large pot of water to boil ( appx 3 quarts). While it is coming to a boil, in a small bowl, combine:
1 cup white flour
2 Tbsp THRIVE Whole Egg Powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Blend all the powdered ingredients with a fork.

In a larger mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup THRIVE Potato Beads
2 Tbsp THRIVE FD Spinach
1 1/2 cups of your boiling water (keep the rest boiling in the pot)

Let the water sit for a minute while potato beads and spinach reconstitute, then fluff with a fork.  You'll have spinach-freckled thick mashed potatoes. Not all of your beads may fully dissolve - that's okay. Do not add extra water.

Once you've got your thick clumps of mashed potato, add your powdered ingredients and mix. It will seem too dry at first, but just keep mixing and the flour will all absorb.

You will be left with a dough that you can roll out into ropes (or "snakes", if your letting your kiddos help with this part). If the dough is too sticky to roll into snakes, sprinkle flour onto your hands and rolling area, and more flour will get worked into the dough that way. You want to avoid adding too much flour though, or your noquis will be too dense.

Once you have the dough rolled out, cut it into little bite-sized pieces. Then, run those pieces over your noqui maker, to add ridges. (I push it down with my thumb, then peel one edge up, so it rolls slightly) Since most of you probably don't have a noqui maker, (and I have no clue where to get one this side of the equator), you can use fork tines to create your ridges. You could skip this step all together if you're really pressed for time, but adding the ridges helps the sauce stick to them better, ensures the middles cook right, and makes them look much prettier! This is a great project for friends to help with, and even kids, so let others join in the fun.

Once they are prepared, the noquis go into your already boiling pot of water. They will sink at first. Within a minute or so, they will float to the top. That's how you know they are done, and you can remove them with a slotted spoon. It is best to cook them in smaller batches, so they don't stick together. I have one or two ropes worth of noquis boiling at a time, and while they are, I'm getting the next two ropes ready. The whole process goes quite quickly, trust me. I didn't watch the clock exactly, but I would say this is a 20-30 minute meal. Boiling the water is the longest step in the whole process.

When the noquis are all done, you can eat them plain, or you can top them with your favorite pasta sauce, some melted cheese, whatever sounds good to you. (above is some spaghetti sauce with ground turkey). They have a light, soft, chewy texture, and everyone in my family, my picky toddler and 14 month old included, gobble them up. This recipe makes about 3 adult servings, (or 2 adults and 2 kids).

Let me know if you have any questions, and if you try this recipe at home, let me know how it goes!

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