Instant Potato Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Peas and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
When I first learned about The Daring Kitchen, I was excited to join a group that would provide me with monthly culinary inspiration. This month’s assignment (and my very first with TDK) was created by Steph from Stephfood, our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with! Steph also encouraged us to make noodles that celebrated our culinary heritage. See Full Gnocchi Feast Menu
Shortcuts in the kitchen vary rarely lead to splendid results.  Garbage in, garbage out, and no glory in between.  It was with this sentiment and a whole lot of skepticism  that I approached the idea of a pillowy, toothsome gnocchi made of instant potatoes.  How could that be?

Given that this recipe was to become a part of a cluster of gnocchi recipe all undertaken together for The Daring Kitchen, I decided to approach the recipe as just that – a dare.  How could I turn fake-me-out mashed potatoes into gourmet glory.  The base recipe was fairly simple, reconstituting the dried flakes and then adding the traditional gnocchi add-ins of flour and egg.  I then swaped out the boiling water for the soaking liquid from some dried chanterelle mushroom, adding a gloriously nutty flavor to plain old potato dumplings.  I then dressed the little treasures in one of my favorite sauces of prosciutto, peas and cream.  Perfection!

Despite their sketch origin, the instant potato gnocchi were tender, light and perfect vehicles for soaking up the rich sauce.  Much more decadent than I could have ever imagined.  If all dares would lead to such glorious effect, I’d be the Evel Knieval of the kitchen in no time.  Maybe I’ll have that added to my business card…

Instant Potato Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Peas and Chanterelle Mushrooms

2 c. of stock (veggie or chicken)
1 oz. of dried chanterelle mushrooms (or 8 oz. of fresh)
1 c. dry potato flakes
1 egg, scrambled
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
1 1/2 c. of flour
1/8 tsp. of nutmeg
1/4 lb. of prosciutto
1 c. of frozen green peas
1 c. of whole milk
2 c. of heavy cream
2 tbs. of butter
2 tbs. of flour
1/4 c. of grated parmesan
1/8 tsp. of black pepper

Begin by bringing the stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add mushrooms to the boiling liquid and cover. Let soak for 30 minutes and then strain, reserving liquid. Rinse the mushrooms carefully in a little water and set aside. Pour out 1 cup of the mushroom liquid, making sure not to take any of the grit or dirt from the bottom of the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil and blend with the potato flakes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then mix with the egg, white pepper, flour and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix well with your hands or using the dough hook of your KitchenAid mixture for about 4-5 minutes, or until a smooth dough is formed. Roll out onto a floured board and knead until no longer tacky and super soft. Split the dough into four pieces and roll each into a fat cigar shape and then into a long snake about as thick as your thumb. Use a butter knife to cut the dough into 1 inch pieces. Roll each piece over a gnocchi board or create ridges using the tong of a fork. Set each piece on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flour. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste and then dribble in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the heavy cream, black pepper and another pinch of nutmeg. Crank up the heat a bit to coax the sauce into thickening, whisking the whole time. Add the peas, chanterelle mushrooms and the prosciutto to the sauce and stir to combine. Whisk in the parmesan cheese and turn off the heat. Let rest while you cook the gnocchi.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface of the water, about 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, immediately add gnocchi to the sauce. Stir and serve immediately.