If you’re anything like me, learning to cook in college was a rude awakening. Leaving the comfort of mom’s kitchen and being forced to fend for yourself can be a terrifying experience. Although I lived off pizza bagels and Trujillo’s my first two years of college (and still do), I have decided to try and push the boundaries of my cooking skills and learn to eat like a real adult. So, come on this journey with me as I attempt to cook new, balanced meals every week in my college apartment. From TikTok trends to restaurant reviews, I will cover it all!
This week I discovered Emily Mariko’s TikTok page, and I know you must think I have been living under a rock. If you are unfamiliar, Emily Mariko is famous for her satisfying ASMR-style cooking videos that have swept rapidly through everyone’s For You Page. The real appeal to me, however, was not the aesthetic style of her videos, but how delicious the food appears. Her recipes seem to stay simple and fresh, so I thought this was a good place to start.
After hours of doom scrolling her page, I landed on a relatively simple recipe of gnocchi in homemade tomato sauce. I paused her video at various times and came up with this list of ingredients:
· Store-bought gnocchi (I used Ralph’s brand)
· 1 container of tomatoes (I used cherry)
· ½ clove of fresh-cut garlic
· Diced basil
· Olive oil
· Heavy cream
For meal prep, I started by chopping my cherry tomatoes in half and I used a full carton of them. Next, I chopped up half a clove of garlic; I decided to mince mine, but Mariko left hers in large pieces. Then, I diced a handful of basil leaves. Emily Mariko, unfortunately, does not provide measurements in her short videos, so I estimated most of the measurements and used as much as I prefer for my pallet, for example: I LOVE basil, so I used a lot.
As far as actually cooking the dish, I began by sautéing the tomatoes and garlic in a pan of olive oil over medium heat. While you are waiting, boil water for the pasta. Once the tomatoes began to soften, I added two tablespoons of water to turn it into more of a sauce and stirred. Once that was pretty much completely liquid, I added a drizzle of heavy cream to thicken it up a bit (at this point you should have a runny tomato sauce), and then I added in the basil, salt, and pepper. Once the water is boiling, add in your store-bought gnocchi. A tip I learned is that once the gnocchi float it is fully cooked. Once done, add the gnocchi to the sauce with a little pasta water and stir. I served mine as is with a basil leaf to garnish.
Overall, I really enjoyed cooking and tasting this dish — It was simple and delicious! My only critique is that Mariko adds a lot of water throughout her process, but I found it to make the sauce a little too runny and it felt more like a gnocchi soup than pasta with sauce. Overall, I would make it again, as it took about 20 minutes total and utilized lots of fresh ingredients for a balanced meal. I would consider adding a protein in the future, but it was amazing on its own as well. I will definitely be checking out more of Emily Mariko’s recipes!