food for a restless mind

Basil and artichoke heart chicken bake with pumpkin gnocchi

This chicken bake was a super yummy and easy to make, which is perfect because the gnocchi took forever. It wasn’t necessarily difficult but from start to finish the gnocchi took about an hour-and-a-half.

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The chicken bake is based on this recipe. I just used a bit less of everything. I am cooking for three people so I used two large chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 190°C. I liberally covered the chicken breasts in salt and pepper and placed them in a baking dish that was slightly larger than they were.

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Then in a separate bowl I mixed together the tomato, artichoke hearts, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and cornflour.

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Then I just poured the sauce mixture on top of the chicken and spread it around until the chicken was evenly covered. Then I popped the chicken in the oven and put a timer on for forty-five minutes.

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This was after we’d dug in

Then started the trial of the gnocchi. I’ve been wanting to make gnocchi for a while, but lately potatoes have been a bit scarce so you can imagine how excited I was when I found a recipe for gnocchi with pumpkin instead of potato. Luckily I had some frozen butternut pumpkin puree in the freezer so that knocked some time off the process. I knew I was going to have to let the pumpkin drain for a while so I defrosted it around two o’clock and set it in a sieve to drain. After the chicken bake was in the oven at about twenty past five I started on the rest of the gnocchi. I added the drained pumpkin to a large bowl,  with half the flour, as well as the thyme, cinnamon and salt. I started to mix it all together but it was still super moist so added some more flour, and some more flour, and some more flour. Eventually I couldn’t stir it anymore so I tipped it onto the floured bench and kneaded more flour into it until it was no longer sticky.

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This is what it looked like when I tipped it onto the bench.

Turns out I didn’t drain the pumpkin quite long enough as I had to use more than twice the amount of flour in the original recipe. Then I had trouble rolling out the dough. So I went and got mum to help me. At this point the timer for the chicken went off so I turned the heat off and left it in the oven to stay warm while I finished the gnocchi. Mum started rolling out the gnocchi, but had the same problem as me so we had to start rolling it out in smaller batches. We decided it would go faster if one of us was rolling while the other was cutting up the gnocchi. Once we got into a bit of a rhythm it wasn’t too bad but it still took a good twenty minutes to get the gnocchi ready to boil.

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Waiting for the water to boil gave me a chance to finally put the veggies on to steam (I should have done it as soon as the chicken was cooked so I could boil the gnocchi while the veggies cooked but the gnocchi wasn’t ready when the chicken was finished). Unfortunately gnocchi has to be boiled in small batches to cook properly. It also cooks pretty quickly so normally it kind of balances out, but by this point it was six thirty and I was thoroughly sick of making gnocchi. Finally around quarter to seven the gnocchi was done.

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And it was deeply satisfying to sit down and enjoy what was a pretty delicious meal, if I do say so myself. So if you’ve got some time and some patience on your hands give it a go. If not just serve the chicken with pasta or mashed potatoes and save yourself some trouble.

Chicken Bake

Ingredients 

  • 2-3  chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 400g can of diced Italian tomatoes
  • 400g quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional, if you would like a thicker pan juice)
  • fresh basil, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Coat the chicken breasts in salt and pepper and place them in a baking dish that is slightly larger than they are.
  3. Then in a separate bowl mix together the tomato, artichoke hearts, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and cornflour.
  4. Pour the sauce mixture on top of the chicken and spread it around until the chicken is evenly covered.
  5. Pop the chicken in the oven and put a timer on for forty-five minutes.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

  • 425 pumpkin purée (which can be made by boiling pumpkin then putting it through the food processor until smooth)
  • 3-4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Method

  1. Strain the pumpkin puree in a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the liquid.
  2. Add pumpkin to a large bowl,  with half the flour, as well as the thyme, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Mix it all together. If the dough is still sticky add some more flour. Keep adding flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. Oil you hands and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead and add flour until the dough form a soft smooth ball.
  4.  Cut your dough ball into eighths and roll each piece into long worms, about 1cm thick.
  5. Cut the worms into 1-2cm pieces with a sharp knife.
  6. Roll the pieces in flour to get rid of any stickiness
  7. Drop the gnocchi into boiling water in batches. Each batch should be no bigger than the bottom of your saucepan. When they’re cook they float to the surface, it should take about 2-3 minutes. If your gnocchi don’t start to float after a minute or two give them a bit of a stir to make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom.
  8. Drain the gnocchi before serving.

 

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