One-Pot Gnocchi In A White Sauce
“Trust in the routine, and it will pay off” is a mantra I sort of live by, or, more accurately, a rule I apply to my children’s sleeping habits. And there is no doubt about its effectiveness - when we stick with it, it works, and we feel so rewarded. Incidentally, it also works with the big people - we are all at our best when our physical needs are met regularly and reliably.
Now, there is micro routine and macro routine to consider. Micro is the ritual, the devil that hides in the detail. Making sure we have the right goodnight story, doing the evening’s ablutions in the right order, being all set up for the inevitable last demand for a sip of water before sleep falls on a small child with an almost audible “thump”. Micro is comforting for adults but often critical for children. Maybe when you are that small, the detail is what most affects you, or at leat the thing that seems most within reach. Children often have no input on or control over the macro, so the significance of the micro is magnified. Catastrophe befalls if you lose a special backhoe loader or other totemic object.
Macro, of course, is the overall context, the structure of the days. We need to get out of bed at the same time (despite the siren calls for a lie-in by putting on Thomas the Tank Engine on the smartphone while hiding under the duvet) and put porridge on so breakfast is ready 30 minutes later, and make sure that children get at least 2 hours of outdoor/high activity time a day (or, if Mrs Green is in charge, about 6 hours- everyone out all day, returning home D.E.D. (dead), assuming no ones falls asleep on the way home) while building in enough down time for the children to decompress before the sweet relief of the micro night routine.
As necessary and life-enhancing as they can be, routines can also sometimes put us in a rut. One of the reasons for us to introduce new recipes on this blog is to ensure that our routine is not routine, nor a prescribed formula. A good routine is dynamic, allows you to evolve, while setting the parameters and, if need be, those parameters can be adjusted to reflect changing needs. Everything is in motion, and life is about change. A good routine lets you tackle change without getting exhausted - after all, trying something different (even if it just means mixing it up just slightly) makes life interesting. So, this week’s recipe has made its way into the Greens’ macro routine, but it changes, as things do, and because we are able to rely on its basic ingredients (as is the case with many recipes that we use) I frequently tweak it so that it has a new twist to it. This kind of excitement is pretty much what we can now handle - the kids deal us enough curveballs during the day.
Mrs Green paid dearly for breaking the grown-up Greens’ own macro routine. A night out with a friend and some sparkling wine took its toll over three days, with the good lady repeatedly whimpering that it was so great while it lasted, but why did it have to be so hard afterwards. Ah- the question that echoes through the ages on the morning after the night before.
Generally, on nights when we may have strayed even the slightest from our routine, we more often than not need a comforting (i.e. carby or starchy) meal to put our hearts and nerves at ease. This recipe is a poster boy for the comforting bowl of carbohydrates, and it has been jazzed up a bit by the addition of a favourite mushroom. Mrs Green had a big bowl of this, curled up on the sofa, a feeble finger pressing on the “play next episode” button of some sci-fi show on Netflix (her secret vice) and quietly said “I really really love nutritional yeast” before falling asleep. Try it, next time you feel like the universe made you pay for breaking the routine.
- 400g Gnocchi (we used gnocchetti with pumpkin)
- 1 shallot or small onion
- 1 tbsp low-salt bouillon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup water
- 250g mushrooms (we used shiitake)
- 500ml (2 cups) soya milk
- 1 tbsp arrowroot
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large, heavy based pot (with lid) place finely minced shallot and garlic with water and low-salt bouillon.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then simmer until a thick paste has formed, roughly 3 min.
- Slice mushrooms and add to the pot, mix well to coat them and then cover the pot and cook on a gentle heat for 3 min.
- Add the soya milk and deglaze the bottom of the pot if necessary.
- Return the pot to the boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes
- Add the arrowroot and mix well
- Place the gnocchi in the pot and return the mixture to a gentle simmer, set the time for 3 minutes and stir the mixture continuously. Most fresh gnocchi take 3-4 minutes to cook, but taste after 3 to be sure that they are ready, but keep in mind that they will continue to cook as you dish them out.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast and serve!