Gnocchi. A word that's hard to spell or pronounce correctly. And if you asked me, hard to make at home correctly, too.
I recently started dating someone new, and I usually worry about how long I need to date someone before revealing the full brunt of my cooking and food obsessions. First dates usually consist of me interviewing the guy about food tastes and preferences, favorite restaurants, food allergies, etc. Maybe I'm the only person who sees picky eating habits as a bigger barrier than old relationship baggage, divergent political views, or whatever the deal breakers are these days.
I wondered how I was going to explain why I was spending a couple of hours on a weeknight after a long day at work on a random recipe to New Guy, who probably had never eaten or even heard of gnocchi. I invited him over for dinner, but I didn't get home until 7:30, then I needed to clean the kitchen workspace, and do some prep for the recipe.
Me: Are you okay with a really late dinner? Or should I make you something quick?
Him: Dinner won't be at 10 o'clock, will it?
Me: Uh, hem, hah, stammer...
Plus dinner was gnocchi, but he didn't complain. I used Dorie's recipe, which is incredibly similar to pâte à choux. Surprisingly there are no potatoes in this gnocchi. You boil the gnocchi, then top it with a bechamel sauce and cheese and bake it.
I didn't have great luck with this recipe. My bechamel was too thick; my gnocchi were crazy shapes and sizes. I blame New Guy for distracting me. (Sappy!) I even forgot to season the bechamel with salt, pepper, and nutmeg before putting it in the dish. Luckily, New Guy is super helpful in the kitchen. He stirred the bechamel and grated cheese for me.
I scaled the recipe for 6 down to make it for 2 people instead. And guess what time dinner was served? 10 o'clock.
This recipe got some mixed reviews from us. The bechamel was never quite right, even after baking. The dish as a whole felt really heavy. Come on, it's eggs, milk, and cheese! But I think with some added herbs, maybe vegetables, it could shine more.
Moral of the story: even if your recipe's not a winner, eat dinner with one.