In our journey to eating insects every day like it's no big deal at all, Maddy and I are more or less still at the "stick powdered insects in all the food" phase, with some exceptions for tasty deep-fried mealworms. But that doesn't mean we aren't trying out a wide variety of insect-powder-infused food to see what it's like. We want to find dishes that really work well to complement the flavours of the insects we're eating, and gnocchi definitely delivered.
As part of some recipe development I'm doing right now, I've been cooking a lot of potatoes. Like, a lot. And when I saw a video of someone making gnocchi, I figured why not make that? I literally had the potatoes ready to go. Now, that first gnocchi was insect-free, but as we ate it I thought that the rich earthiness of our ground cricket would go well with it. So I whipped up some more gnocchi, this time with a generous helping of cricket meal, and we ate it with finely chopped green onion and some hoisin sauce.
The texture of the pasta was a bit different than the traditional kind: it was less springy, but the texture -- and the taste -- were perfect! The cricket worked with the potato, and the added hoisin sent it out of this world. It was seriously good, and this dish will definitely make it into our rotation.
Also, I can make gnocchi now!
A word about the crickets: one of the selling points for people still getting into entomophagy is how mild the flavours of crickets, mealworms, and other insects can be. And it absolutely can! Depending on what you're adding it to and how, you can hardly notice the added protein. But under the right circumstances, and in the right concentrations, it can massively alter the flavour of what you're making. For example, I added the flour and cricket meal right after taking the potatoes out of the water they'd boiled in: they were steaming. The scent of the cricket on its own, out of the bag, was mild, but when I mixed it with the the potato and the steam hit it? It was unreal. It was intense. Cricket powder smells like dirt, like pleasant memories of tilling fresh soil. And here that smell was almost overwhelmingly strong. The word that comes to mind is pungent, but I absolutely mean that in a good way. It smelled incredible.
Trust me, you've never smelled anything quite like it.
Intrigued? Want to try your hand at this spin on an Italian classic? Then read on and cook on!