So I finally got around to making plantain gnocchi again, but was so tired that I didn’t even make a sauce to go with them and just ended up topping them with some fresh tomatoes. They were still delicious though, mainly because they were stuffed with chunks of cheddar cheese! I actually overstuffed them (but really, can you ever have too much cheese?) and they ended up looking more like dumplings than gnocchi. So we had to call them koldunai, which is the Lithuanian word for dumplings.
The only trick with these little guys is that the amount of flour you’ll need to get the dough to the right consistency may vary. The first time I made them I used smaller plantains and needed less flour. But if you’ve made gnocchi before, you shouldn’t have any trouble, and they’re worth the extra effort!
Plantain Gnocchi/Koldunai Stuffed with Cheddar Cheese
2 black-brown plantains, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 8-ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
3 chopped tomatoes or several cups of your favorite salsa
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Boil the plantains for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from the pan and mash thoroughly in a medium bowl.
After letting mashed plantains cool to room temperature for about 15 minutes, mix in the egg. Mix in salt and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms (you may need to add a little more flour, depending on the size of your plantains, when I had 1 3/4 cups of mashed plantains I needed 2 1/2 cups of flour). The dough should not be too sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large square and then cut the square into 2×2-inch squares. Place a chunk of cheese into the middle of each square of dough and seal the cheese inside the dough. Makes about 40 gnocchi.
Bring large pot of water to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until they are tender and float to the top, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix gnocchi with fresh tomatoes or your favorite salsa. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 435 calories, 4.2g fat, 3.4g fiber, 16.8g protein per serving
Cost: $1.09 per serving