How GBBO's Ruby Tandoh Dresses Up Her 'Unhinged' Gnocchi

If there is one piece of advice Ruby Tandoh would likely give you it'd be to cook as you are. As it happens, that is also the title of the former "Great British Bake Off" finalist's latest cookbook. In it, Tandoh exhorts home cooks to embrace the moment, and mood, when it comes to their cooking and eating.

In the mood for something extravagant? Go for it. Need a quick weeknight meal and only have a frozen pizza on hand? That's ok. Pass by a display of enticing candy bars at a bodega? Grab them all. In "Cook As You Are," Tandoh eschews aspirational cooking in favor of accommodating all of life's varied experiences, from plain old exhaustion to working with conditions like autism, ADHD, or physical impairments while navigating the kitchen.

This isn't feel-goodery on Tandoh's behalf either, it's a mantra she herself sticks to. Look no further than how she prepares her own meals. In a recent interview, Tandoh chatted about how her grocery shopping habits have changed since she's moved from rural Yorkshire, England to London. One of her go-to grocery staples is gnocchi, and not just because it cooks up in mere minutes compared to other pastas. No, her usual, thrown-together-in-a-pinch gnocchi meal for a harried night's dinner is, as she herself calls it, "unhinged."

What's in Ruby Tandoh's 'unhinged' gnocchi

Like many of "GBBO" finalist Ruby Tandoh's recipes, this dish draws from a variety of cuisines. First there is the gnocchi itself, to which she adds some parmesan, so that ticks off the Italy box. From there, she takes a Mediterranean turn, adding capers. The pickled flower buds of a caper bush add a bit of briny, tangy flavor.

To finish, Tandoh bids adieu to Europe and heads to China, splashing a healthy dose of chili crisp into her "unhinged gnocchi." Chili crisp has been wildly popular for years now, and with a myriad of ways to use it, it's not surprising that it ended up being the heat source of choice for a millennial like Tandoh.

While the flavor combination might sound unhinged, Tandoh's gnocchi follows a basic flavor structure that many chefs adhere to, incorporating four of what is known as the five flavor elements. There are salty notes in pickled capers and parmesan. Umami flavors can be found in both parmesan and chili crisp. For sour, the capers again come into play, and while the pickling process mellows them a bit, they still carry slightly bitter notes.

You could even create your own take on Tandoh's recipe with this easy homemade chili crisp recipe, or by tossing in some of your own extras. No matter how "unhinged" it sounds, so long as you cook exactly as you are, this gnocchi can be the perfect meal for almost any moment.