While you’ve probably seen more than a few sourdough loaves in your friends’ Instagram Stories recently, over the past few weeks a different carb has been slowly gaining traction: gnocchi. Specifically, a gnocchi recipe created by food artist Laila Gohar, who is best known for her beautiful and intricate food installations (piles of grapes for Maryam Nassir Zadeh, marzipan roses on doilies for Matches). Since the quarantine, Gohar has shifted gears and has been posting simple, almost grandmotherly recipes for foods that, with the exception of some candied orange peels, are comfortingly beige, like chicken stock, hummus, stuffed cabbage, beans, an anchovy and onion tart — and, one of the most popular, the gnocchi, which Gohar describes in the caption as “pillows you can eat.”
We at the Strategist are not immune to the appeal of Gohar’s recipes: I’ve personally made her beans, chicken stock, and candied orange peels, while Strategist senior editor Katy Schneider has made the gnocchi (we were both pleased with the results). Plenty of other followers, across the country and the world, are re-creating Gohar’s recipes, too, and many have posted photographs of their meals artfully laid out on ceramics and heirloom-esque doilies similar to the ones Gohar photographs her own foods on. “Between the gnocchi and the orecchiette, I would say that about a couple hundred people have DM’d me with their photos,” says Gohar, who adds that she’s also received around 200 DMs about her hummus. Designer Chiquita Kusumahadi posted her gnocchi, writing in the caption that she served hers with garlic-lemon butter. As did Léa T., a Vienna-based translator, and writer and editor Christine Muhlke, and the artist Chloe Wise. Said Léa on the appeal of Gohar’s recipes (and the gnocchi in particular): “Gnocchi recipes are usually unnecessarily complex, whereas here she instructs you to ‘use your senses,’ which is very freeing.” For product marketing manager Laura Naparstek, the straightforward ingredient list was a big part of the draw: “The recipes felt different from everything else out there. Like Bon Appétit, for example, there’s always a twist or something that makes it a production. With Laila’s, it’s just like ‘use a little bit,’ which made the barrier for entry feel lower.”
The aspirational, somewhat unusually, appealingly muted presentation doesn’t hurt either. “The foods are very beige, which is against the rules of food on Instagram, where images are usually high contrast, textured, and saturated — whereas with Laila, the most texture you get is the silk doily under the food. It’s softer and more diffuse,” says Naparstek. “Plus, you’re seeing someone cooking and living among beautiful ceramics and bowls.” Exhibition designer and creative producer Joana Filipe of Interesting Projects agrees. “She presents her work with a beautiful, craft-forward aesthetic — embroidered napkins, old ceramics. And her recipes manage to feel both contemporary and a bit old world, in that they allow for some spontaneity.” Below, Gohar’s original post (which includes the recipe) and all of the ingredients you’ll need to make the gnocchi yourself.
The gnocchi shopping list
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