Cooking with kids can be an absolute nightmare – hot stoves, sharp knives – oy vey! But, if you find the right recipe, gather your patience, and are ready to step into an instructor role, it can be a lot of fun. Not only can it be fun, but it teaches kids to be responsible and care about eating fresh ingredients.
My seven-year-old Vincent is a fellow foodie. He’s always underfoot in the kitchen eager to “taste” the progress of whatever we’re cooking. Last year for his birthday, he asked for kitchen tools and knives.
So, when I had a craving for gnocchi – those fluffy little potato dumplings, I knew who to ask to be my sous- chef. Vincent was pumped!
Gnocchi is a great recipe to make with kids because there’s a lot of fun visuals – the potato going through the ricer, rolling and cutting the gnocchi, and then, of course, waiting for them to float to the top of the water. Besides all of that, they are tasty and ready to be topped with whatever you can imagine.
For our gnocchi recipe, we decided we’d go with a summer vibe. Fresh cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden, tossed with diced pancetta, garlic scapes, and parmesan cheese. If you’re a vegetarian, omit the pancetta.
On the subject of modifications, if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, you can always use your preferred substitute- rice flour, tapioca flour, etc.
With this recipe, we’re kicking it old school with regular old flour, and a special ingredient of tons of fun!
- 2 potatoes
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup garlic scapes (or shallots if not available)
- 1 cup of chopped pancetta
- 1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes (or your favorite variety)
- 1 cup of shaved parmesan
- Several leaves of shredded fresh basil
- Salt & pepper
- A few drizzles of olive oil
- Either bake or microwave potatoes. I opted to nuke ours- it’s faster, and I avoided adding extra heat in the house on a 90-degree day.
- Start a pot of water to boil, add a healthy amount of salt.
- Cut potatoes in half and scoop out the potato meat. (Feel free to save the skins to make a yummy snack as we did! Enjoy it while you’re cooking!)
- Add the potato meat to the ricer and squeeze into a bowl.
- Add the egg and slowly add flour. (We used an electric mixer with a bread kneed piece.)
- Flour your workspace, and start to roll out gnocchi.
- Cut into inch and a half pieces.
- Gently place cut gnocchi into boiling water.
- Once they float to the top, place in a bowl.
- Drizzle olive oil on top so they don’t stick.
Tomato and Pancetta Topping
- While those hot potatoes cool down a bit, start chopping the tomatoes, scapes, and basil, but put into separate bowls.
- Heat a few dashes of olive oil in the skillet. Once nice and hot, add pancetta. We used a Wok-style pan because of the depth.
- Add scapes and saute with pancetta.
- Once the gnocchi is ready, turn off the heat and toss in tomatoes, quickly stirring.
- Add mixture to the gnocchi.
- Top with sliced basil and shaved parmesan and mix. Add more olive oil and salt and pepper if needed.
- Enjoy! And as always, a savory hunk of buttery garlic bread is a heavenly addition. 😉